Rebels basketball:

UNLV Extras: Plenty of missed opportunities to go around in Rebels’ loss


Associated Press

UNLV’s Anthony Bennett (15) and Boise State’s Jeff Elorriaga (11) go after a loose ball during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013, in Boise, Idaho. BSU won 77-72. (AP Photo/Matt Cilley)

UNLV vs. Boise State

UNLV's Anthony Marshall (3) and Boise State's Kenny Buckner (42) go after a rebound during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013, in Boise, Idaho. Boise State won 77-72. (AP Photo/Matt Cilley) Launch slideshow »

The road is an unkind place in the Mountain West Conference, especially when you don’t treat it with respect.

And by that I mean things such as effort, which UNLV clearly lacked as a team at the beginning of Saturday’s 77-72 loss to Boise State at Taco Bell Arena. The game ended up close because with one exception (last year at New Mexico), these road games are always close, but that doesn’t excuse the way the Rebels played early on.

You could make the case UNLV (17-5, 4-3) doesn’t take its opponents seriously enough, something freshman forward Anthony Bennett seemed to suggest after the defeat.

“Before the game we came out laughing and stuff, so I think we need to stop that,” Bennett said.

Bennett added that fixing it requires more focus — essentially treating these games like business trips. That would help, though winning away from home takes a combination of effort and execution that UNLV has shown only a few times in the past two years.

The Rebels turn around for another road game Wednesday at Fresno State (7-13, 1-6), the league’s last-place team. But for its own sake, UNLV should treat the Bulldogs like the Lobos or Aztecs. In fact, they should just treat everyone that way.

Moser’s ejection

I was genuinely surprised when the Boise State PA announcer turned on his mic and said Mike Moser was ejected from the game.

Then after reading the description of a flagrant-two foul on, I could see both sides. Here’s the example the site offers:

“An example of a Flagrant 2 foul would be when a player swings an elbow excessively and makes contact with an opponent above the shoulders. In this case, the player who threw the elbow would be ejected from the game, and the other team would receive two free throws and the ball.”

Moser didn’t throw an elbow at Boise’s Anthony Drmic, but as he ran toward a streaking Drmic going to the hoop, Moser didn’t make a play on the ball, according to the refs. As Drmic was attempting to lay it in, Moser caught him in the face with his open right hand, sending Drmic to the ground.

This part is just a guess, but I think that if Moser had looked concerned that he hit Drmic so hard and tried to help him up, the refs may have given him the benefit of the doubt and kept it as an intentional foul. However, Moser strolled away toward UNLV’s bench and his teammates. The play didn’t appear to be malicious, but there didn’t seem to be any remorse, either.

That said, I don’t like seeing guys get tossed from a game, and I’d like to think that refs are hesitant to do so.

Sidenote: Drmic, who finished with 22 points and four assists, is a great example of a guy you hate to play against but love to have on your team. He’s chippy and he may flop a bit, but Drmic hustles all the time and he’s great at frustrating opponents.

Guards’ missed opportunities

With so much focus on Bennett's final shot, it was easy to forget some of UNLV’s other miscues.

For instance, Katin Reinhardt, who was 3-for-5 for nine points in the first half, missed all three of his shots in the second half. And senior guard Justin Hawkins finished 0-for-5, including 0-for-4 in the second half. Hawkins had some really good looks at 3-pointers that could have propelled UNLV into the lead, but he couldn’t get any of them to fall.

And Anthony Marshall, who had 18 points, 12 assists, two turnovers and five rebounds, wasn’t without fault on offense. Though Bennett’s miss and Boise’s subsequent rebound basically sealed the Rebels’ fate, Marshall did have a chance to extend the game with a pair of free throws. UNLV was down three with 5.4 seconds left, and Marshall missed both of them.

All three guards were also beat on backdoor cuts, part of UNLV’s larger defensive problem that overshadowed what was actually a pretty good offensive performance. The Rebels shot 50 percent and finished with 24 assists on 27 made baskets. That’s UNLV coach Dave Rice’s favorite stat, though it also shows the Rebels didn’t get out like Rice wanted to in transition, where assists are fewer. UNLV finished with no fast-break points and just six points off turnovers compared with the Broncos’ 11.

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or Follow Taylor on Twitter at

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  1. What is so frustrating about the team and Coach Rice over the last couple of years is all of the lip service they give. It always: we need to be tougher, we need to be smarter, we need to run more, we need to make better decisions, we need to get off to a good start, we need to keep our foot on the gas, we need to take better care of the ball, we need to take better shots... When do they stop talking about what they need to do and start doing it? All it is now is excuses. Since last year UNLV is now 3-8 on the road in MWC play. Granted the road is not easy. Granted the league is of the best in the nation. However we are easily the most talented and deepest team in this conference. Unfortunately we very well could be the dumbest most fundamentally unsound team in the conference as well. I guarantee you that other MWC coaches tell their teams just keep it close, and UNLV will find a way to fold down the stretch. I thought we may have had a breakthrough at SDSU but turns out it was just an abberation. When do we start improving and when do the Rebs stop giving lip service about what they need to do, and start doing it?

  2. Coach I'm firmly behind you but you must know more is expected. You're a rhode scholar lets solve some of these problems. I'm behind you all the way.
    Go Rebs!

  3. Yes, Coach Rice was the "offensive coordinator" (as the announcers keep saying) of those BYU teams but they were guard-oriented (read: Jimmer) teams. It doesn't look like he knows how to adapt his philosophy to a front line such as the current Rebels have.

    With our size and our supposed fast-break ability (although I have my doubts on that), we should be getting 75% of our points in the paint but, yet again, we are lost once we get into a half-court set...

  4. You can just check Twitter before the game to see how serious these players take it. An hour before game time and you're tweetin'..... smh....

  5. Why do the Rebels play down to the level of every opponent? There's no doubt that we have the deepest most talented team in the conference, yet we play it close to the last 3 minutes and leave it up to a coin toss (a fluke rebound or two) whether we win or lose! This team should be ratcheting up the pressure defense if not full-court pressing the whole game! We go 10 or 11 deep, but we don't utilize it to our advantage! Rice plays "not to lose" instead of being aggressive and wearing our opponents out! At this point, what do we have to lose? Saying "we're a young team" is an excuse that is old and tired 22 games into the season! Jerry Tarkanian would look at this roster and think "Hardway 8" of 1976 & 1977...which averaged 111 points/game WITHOUT A 3-POINT LINE! Smothering full-court pressure with no worries about foul trouble because he went 9 or 10 deep! C'mon Rice...roll the dice! Are we the Runnin' Rebels or the Sleep Walkin' Rebels?

  6. @AmLowLife - Name me one team who gets 75% of their points in the paint?

  7. Sometimes it isn't missed opportunities. Sometimes you just got beat.