Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013 | 1:45 p.m.
- Birch bounces off the bench to lead Rebels in 12-point victory against Wolf Pack
- BOX SCORE: UNLV 66, UNR 54
- Cook’s development gives Rebels more potential lineup options vs. UNR
- UNLV Extras: Backup freshman enjoys possible breakthrough game
- Rebels find the right combination for satisfying victory against Wyoming
- UNLV Extras: Team shooting better on the road than last season
- UNLV couldn’t keep Colorado State from playing its game in road loss
- UNLV Extras: Rebels’ challenge now is to avoid emotional letdown
- Quirky lineup and determined point guard led UNLV to victory at SDSU
- All UNLV men's basketball coverage
The odds that UNLV (17-4, 4-2) wins the rest of its road games are very slim. Still, the next couple of trips look a lot better than they used to.
On Saturday, the Rebels travel to Boise State (14-5, 2-3) and then next Wednesday, they travel to Fresno State (7-12, 1-5). The Broncos just lost by 16 on the road to the same middling UNR team the Rebels just beat by 12, and Fresno State is the only team in the league with a sub-.500 overall record.
Even the Feb. 23 trip to Wyoming doesn’t seem nearly as difficult after seeing how different the Cowboys are without suspended senior Luke Martinez.
The Rebels’ road struggles are too well known to chalk those up to victories, but the schedule looks better and better as the top four teams begin to separate themselves with Boise and Air Force jockeying for that fifth spot. The trip to Air Force on Feb. 13 is probably the toughest one left on the schedule, and the Rebels get all five of those teams — Air Force and Boise plus New Mexico, San Diego State and Colorado State — in the Mack.
Standing a .5-game back of the Lobos, the Rebels have as good a chance as anybody, and perhaps better than most, to win the league title. Now it’s about converting those chances.
Moser may be set in secondary role
Mike Moser's night started with a surprise move to the bench, and it didn’t get a whole lot better from there.
I’m of the mind that starting doesn’t matter so long as you play significant minutes — Moser played 23 against UNR. But there are a lot of players who feed off being out there at the beginning. Moser’s best games are usually the ones when the first play of the game is something drawn up for him.
He finished 1-for-6 shooting, including two missed 3-pointers. The upside is he still had two assists, a steal and seven rebounds, including three in the final four minutes.
The bottom line for Moser is this year hasn’t gone according to plan, and it’s probably too late to get back to those preseason expectations. That elbow injury was serious, and the effects linger both mentally and physically. His new reality going forward may be of a role player; do what he’s best at (rebounding), take a few shots when he’s open and contribute to games in any way possible.
Let’s not pretend that’s some terrible fate. It’s just not worthy of things like Mozilla.
Senior point guard Anthony Marshall came into Tuesday’s game leading the league in minutes per game and actually managed to increase his average by the end of the night.
Marshall is averging 37.2 minutes per game and played 38 in a 12-point home victory. Daquan Cook checked in for Marshall with 14:30 left in the second half and Marshall was back in the game for Cook at 13:32. In those 58 seconds, the lead had shrunk from 14 to nine courtesy of a Deonte Burton and-one layup — the foul was on Moser — and a Marqueze Coleman tip-in off an offensive rebound.
Burton played all 40 minutes for UNR. The difference is the Wolf Pack (11-9, 2-4) doesn’t have much to play for beyond the regular season.
The Rebels, however, have always had their eyes on March, when they’re going to want the best out of all their players. Can Marshall play his best at the end if he keeps up this minutes-per-game pace? It’s possible, but the odds are against it.
However, UNLV coach Dave Rice’s quote before this game about the issue comes to mind.
“I’m very mindful of making sure we have our legs down the stretch,” Rice said. “Having said that, the priority still has to be just trying to win our next game, whatever that takes.”
Against UNR, Rice saw a lead shrink by five in the one minute Marshall wasn’t on the floor. Does one necessarily equal the other?