Las Vegas, NV (Sports Network) - With the hometown crowd backing them, the
UNLV Runnin' Rebels hope to put up a fight on Wednesday night when they
challenge 22nd-ranked Colorado State in Mountain West Conference play at the
Thomas & Mack Center.
One of the teams expected to compete for the crown in the MWC again this
season, the Runnin' Rebels have had some issues since league play began and
are currently just 6-5 versus the rest of the conference. Granted, over the
weekend UNLV managed to pull off a 72-70 win against San Diego State at home,
but the Aztecs aren't the team many thought they'd be this season either. The
good news for UNLV, which has won two of the last three outings overall, is
that the squad is 15-1 at home this season.
As for the Rams, they are nationally ranked for the first time in several
decades and are fast approaching the program record for wins in a season which
is 23 set back in 1988-89. The team was taken to task over the weekend
however, barely pulling out an 89-86 road win against Air Force as they
allowed Michael Lyons to generate 45 points in the loss. With the victory,
Colorado State is second in the MWC with a mark of 8-2, trailing only New
Mexico which entered the week at 9-2.
UNLV holds a huge 33-11 advantage in the all-time series between these two
programs, although the Rams are the ones who claimed victory in the first
meeting of the campaign back in January by a score of 66-61 in Fort Collins.
All five starters for the Rams scored in double figures, led by Dorian Green
who registered 22 points in 38 minutes of action, but still the star of the
show was Lyons for Air Force as he shot 6-of-13 from 3-point range and 17-
of-25 from the floor overall. Just outside of the spotlight were Wes Eikmeier
(19 points), Greg Smith (16) and Colton Iverson (15), while Pierce Hornung
recorded a double-double with 13 points and a game-high 16 rebounds in the
Iverson (13.6 ppg, 9.6 rpg) and Hornung (9.9 ppg, 9.6 rpg) are both working
hard in the paint for the Rams, so much so that the team is first in the
nation in rebounding margin with a plus-13.8 rpg. Green (13.1 ppg, 103
assists) combines with Eikmeier (11.9 ppg) to account for 80 of the team's 134
three-point baskets over the course of 25 games so they are able to handle the
action out on the perimeter while everyone else crashes the boards without
becoming too physical.
Anthony Bennett recorded 21 points and 12 rebounds as the UNLV Runnin' Rebels
held on to narrowly defeat the San Diego State Aztecs in MWC action at the
Thomas & Mack Center last Saturday night. Also scoring in double figures for
the Runnin' Rebels was Khem Birch with 16 points, to go along with seven
rebounds and five blocked shots. Mike Moser showed some signs of life with
nine points and four boards off the bench. UNLV overcame 17 turnovers by
outscoring the visitors at the charity stripe, 19-8.
Clearly, this is a team that has transitioned from Moser, one of the top
players in the conference last season, to Bennett who is leads the way in both
scoring (18.0 ppg) and rebounding (8.7 rpg) while shooting a solid 53.9
percent from the floor at such a young age. Anthony Marshall is the only other
double-digit scorer for the enigmatic Rebels, posting 10.4 ppg to go along
with 156 assists.
The Sports Network