UNLV basketball:

Blog: Rebels don’t capitalize on late-game chances, fall 77-72 at Boise State

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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)

Updated Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 | 8:19 p.m.

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 »

Boise State 77, UNLV 72

Game over

BOISE, Idaho — Anthony Drmic scored 22 points and UNLV struggled at the end of the game, crawling back into it before going down 77-72 at Taco Bell Arena as fans rushed the court.

UNLV's Anthony Bennett scored a game-high 25 points in pulling the Rebels back into the game, but he also took one of the strangest shots of the game. Boise's Derrick Marks, who scored 17 points, missed a front-end of a one-and-one while up just one, so UNLV had the ball, down one with 23 seconds left. The Rebels came down and got the ball to Bennett, who took a semi-contested 3-pointer with about 16 seconds left. It missed and UNLV had to foul the rest of the way as Boise held on for the win.

Bennett had a lot of success in the second half, especially when he took the Broncos off the dribble into the paint. He went to the free-throw line eight times in the second half alone. I'll ask Dave Rice about it but I'm pretty sure that's not the shot he had in mind for that possession.

Anthony Marshall finished with 18 points and 12 assists. His 3-pointer in the final minute cut the game to one. It was the final points of an 8-0 run that gave the Rebels a fighting chance, but they ran out of options after Bennett's miss.

Boise State hit two free throws after that, and then fouled Marshall with 5.4 seconds left. With UNLV down three, Marshall missed both free throws and Khem Birch committed his fifth foul while going for the rebound. It was about as bad as the end-of-game situation could have gone if you're the Rebels.

UNLV drops to 17-5 overall and 4-3 in conference play with a trip to Fresno State coming up on Wednesday. Check lasvegassun.com later tonight for a full report from the Rebels' defeat.

Boise State 63, UNLV 56

7:17 remaining in the second half

BOISE, Idaho — UNLV countered Boise's transition points with a small lineup that gave Anthony Bennett and Khem Birch a chance to rest before the final stretch here at the Taco Bell Arena.

Bennett and Quintrell Thomas have been the main catalysts in getting this game close again. The Rebels trailed by as much as 12 but those two started attacking the Broncos' zone at the free-throw line and hitting jumpers. That hole has been there most of the game but UNLV hasn't always done a good job taking advantage.

More importantly, the Rebels aren't playing defense at the level usually necessary to win on the road. That has been their most consistent problem tonight and they won't win without fixing it at least a little.

Boise State 49, UNLV 41

15:46 remaining in the second half

BOISE, Idaho — Anthony Drmic is No. 1 on UNLV's list of enemies right now. The guy who went to the ground on Moser's flagrant two foul also has a steal in the back court that led to an easy layup for two of his 12 points.

He's definitely the guy that teammates love and opponents hate to play, just up into everybody the entire game causing problems. His game plan is clearly working so far and any chance UNLV has of keeping this close or winning includes neutralizing Drmic to some degree.

Boise State 42, UNLV 35

Halftime

BOISE, Idaho — Anthony Marshall has 10 points and Katin Reinhardt has nine as the Rebels trail by seven after losing Mike Moser to an ejection with 4:07 remaining.

Both teams are shooting above 50 percent, with Anthony Drmic leading the Broncos with 10 points. Drmic is the one whom Moser hit in the face on a fast break, drawing a flagrant two foul that comes with an automatic ejection. Moser had to go back to the locker room.

The NCAA's site offers a little insight into the rationale: "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."

While Moser didn't use an elbow, I can see the refs deeming his running, open-hand strike being excessive since there didn't seem to be a play on the ball. That said, I also think the refs should lean conservative in these matters and you can definitely make the case that it was intentional but not flagrant.

Either way the Rebels have to play the rest of the way without Moser. They also got only three minutes from Khem Birch, who committed two fouls in the first 1:06. As a result, UNLV is getting outscored in the paint 18-8.

Boise State 42, UNLV 34

2:17 remaining in the first half

BOISE, Idaho — Following a flagrant two foul on a breakaway layup by Anthony Drmic, UNLV's Mike Moser was ejected from the game with about 4 minutes to play in the first half.

The Rebels got beat on a breakaway and Moser, the only guy with a chance to make a play, ran down and hit Drmic in the face with an open hand. It certainly didn't look like he made much of a play on the ball, and Moser's complete indifference to Drmic lying on the ground after the play may have played a role in the refs' decision.

Boise State 27, UNLV 25

7:25 remaining in the first half

BOISE, Idaho — Whether it's been off switches or in transition, UNLV is leaving a lot of holes in its defense and the Broncos are doing a good job of finding them.

It's a close game because the Rebels are shooting 60 percent from the floor, which is only a little better than the Broncos. Both teams are doing what they need to on offense. Defense, though, is another story.

Dave Rice brought Khem Birch back into the game with two fouls with about 10 minutes left. It's a calculated risk and we'll see if he plays different at the rim while trying to avoid a third foul.

Boise State 13, UNLV 8

14:54 remaining in the first half

BOISE, Idaho — Khem Birch won't have much of a chance to build off his stellar game last Tuesday. Birch was called for two fouls in the first 1:06, so Mike Moser quickly came in off the bench.

Moser's hit a 3 and Katin Reinhardt has one of his own, but UNLV's breakdowns on defense have led to some easy Broncos baskets that have them in front. The Rebels like to rely on their defense home or away, but there's extra emphasis on it away from the Mack. UNLV probably can't outshoot the Broncos in this building, so it needs to stop them.

BOISE, Idaho — Boise State just can't get healthy.

The Broncos return starters Derrick Marks (flu) and Jeff Elorriaga (concussion) tonight after basically missing both of them Wednesday, but less than 30 minutes before tip we learned that starter Igor Hadziomerovic will miss tonight's game against UNLV because of a foot injury.

Hadziomerovic, a 6-foot-4 sophomore guard, is averaging 6.1 points and 3 rebounds per game this season. He came off the bench on Wednesday because of the same injury.

Taking his place for the second straight time in the starting lineup will be freshman guard Mikey Thompson, a Canyon Springs grad.

The Broncos have yet to play a full conference game with their top seven players, and for a team that basically only used its top seven guys in nonconference play that's a big problem.

BOISE — Looking down Boise State’s roster, I get the same feeling about the 2013-14 Broncos that I did looking a year ahead for Colorado State last season. Boise State (14-6, 2-4) has only one senior, and its biggest contributors — Derrick Marks and Anthony Drmic — are sophomores.

The biggest difference between the teams’ situations is that Boise hasn’t accomplished what the Rams did last year. If the Broncos are going to duplicate what the Rams did with a surprise trip to the NCAA Tournament, it probably needs to start with a victory today against UNLV (17-4, 4-2). The game tips at 6 p.m. Las Vegas time at Taco Bell Arena on Time Warner Cable SportsNet.

The Broncos have been in the tournament conversation thanks primarily to the league’s best nonconference victory of the year, a 13-point win at Creighton at the end of November. However, since opening league play on the road with Jeff Elorriaga’s buzzer beater to hand Wyoming its first defeat of the season, Boise has lost four of its past five.

Things may not be as bad as they seem, though. Three of those losses were on the road, and in the one home defeat, Boise took New Mexico to overtime before losing by five. The Broncos also beat Fresno State at home.

Marks, Mikey Thompson, Darrious Hamilton and Kenny Buckner, the lone senior on the team, missed that Wyoming victory because of a violation of team rules. And Elorriaga suffered a concussion in the New Mexico loss, missing three of the next four games (his only appearance was against Fresno). Plus, Marks played only nine minutes because of the flu Wednesday in a 20-point loss at Colorado State.

So, basically, Boise’s rotation has been a bit of a mess. And that does matter, both to the tournament committee and to the Broncos. But if they’re going to have any chance to remain in the conversation, they need to go on a run soon, like starting tonight with a solid resume-building victory against the Rebels. Boise expects to have its full roster available, as Elorriaga has been practicing and coach Leon Rice told the Idaho Statesman that he anticipates the junior will play.

Things look good next season for the Broncos, who could slide into the league’s top four as Colorado State is expected to take a step back after losing most of its senior-heavy rotation. This season isn’t lost yet, but it will be soon if the Broncos don’t do something about it.

THE OTHER SIDE

Boise State projected lineup

G — Derrick Marks, 6-3, So, 16.6 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 3.6 apg

G — Anthony Drmic, 6-6, So, 16.1 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.5 apg

G — Jeff Elorriaga, 6-2, Jr, 11.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 48 3fg%

G — Igor Hadziomerovic, 6-4, So, 6.1 ppg, 3 rpg, 2.4 apg

F — Ryan Watkins, 6-9, Jr, 9.5 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 59.8 fg%

Sixth man — F, Mikey Thompson, 6-3, Fr, 8.8 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 45.7 3fg%

Best name: Vukasin Vujovic, F, 6-9, Fr

Extra storyline: Anthony Marshall won’t be the only Las Vegas native on the court. Boise’s Thompson graduated from Canyon Springs.

Useless Wikipedia factoid: Boise State was founded in 1932 as Boise Junior College.

Kenpom line: UNLV -3

Vegas line: UNLV -3.5

Bern’s take: I’m going with UNLV mostly for two reasons: I don’t know exactly how well Elorriaga can play, and the Rebels have already shown an ability to succeed with a smaller lineup to counter what their opponent is running. UNLV 69, Boise State 63

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

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  1. This game should be an easy win for the Rebels but you do have the Rice factor and he likes em to play to the level of thier opponents. If they win by less than 20 pts you can blame the coach or lack of anyway.

  2. Do you even watch college basketball? "If we don't win by 20?" Give me a break.

  3. UNLV is a frustrating team. Thank god we have Marshall because we refuse to run sets for bennett and moser is horrible.

  4. kiss the nba goodbye moser. you should have left last season. you've only destroyed your draft stock by returning this year and not showing up for the season.

  5. We should easily win this game....instead we're trailing....wow

  6. Moser has so many flaws I don't even know where to begin. Also, Bennett will be exposed in the NBA.

  7. I am so tired of our poor free throw shooting! AB on the line with a chance to cut it to 2 and instead now all of a sudden we are down 9 again. Looked like we might actually have a chance, but that is looking pretty improbable now.

  8. I don't have the game on TV, only gametracker, so I am assuming AB's 3-pt attempt with 14 sec. left was a good look. But even if it was, down 1 with the ball, why are we not going for the last shot and why for heaven's sake are we not taking the ball to the hole?

    We didn't deserve to win this game, but it still sickens me that we lost.

  9. Two positives:

    1. UNLV is in no danger of missing the tournament at this point in time.

    2. The conference tournament is at the T&M.

    One negative:

    1. They have essentially no chance of winning the regular season conference championship.

  10. this team might as well just forfeit the rest of their road games and save themselves the agony. get this team away from the mack and they play like a jr high team.

  11. Absolutely the poorest coaching Rice has done so far. More than a minute on the clock and he already used all his time outs, down by one with the clock in his favor and they shoot a 3,, really?. This is basic coaching knowledge you, don't do that .So much hype about this team and for what? , they lose to Boise St. Football no question, basketball?? nnooo. Please send this guy back to BYU.

  12. The MWC is third in the nation in RPI -- ahead of even the powerhouse ACC. Every MWC home-team won today; anyone who thinks there is ever an easy away-game in MWC league play doesn't watch the game and/or is just here to troll-chum. Need anyone be reminded, UNM needed overtime to beat BSU. The "just give it up" and "should have won by 20" comments are about as ill-advised as that Bennett three-point attempt with 23 seconds to go...

    That said, UNLV's coaching staff has to wonder what it will take to get these guys to play with fire in their eyes every game. I sense a team that isn't playing "as one" more often than I do one that is. As a fan, that concerns me. March is coming fast, Rebels. Hope to see you gel against SDSU and UNM in the coming weeks!

  13. mj20 - You honestly don't think they can beat Fresno State next week? Their only win in conference play was at home vs. Wyoming.

    I expect them to be 5-3 after the first half of conference play and 8-4 after twelve games of conference play.

  14. (And, as if it needed to be pointed out, when the Rebels won last week, there weren't 13 comments here nearly a day after the game... Haters thrive on misery!)

  15. seems we're going to have a repeat of last year. nearly unbeatable at home, almost complete inability to win on the road. maybe we can finally convince the ncaa to let the t&m host some tourney games.

  16. Mike Lange , thats all I watch is college basketball, that game would have been a cake walk with the right coach, he has no control over his players they're lazy and that's his fault.

  17. The Rebels are done. They have progressively gone down hill since Dave Rice took over as coach. They have the tallent but clearly Rice does not push fundamentals and it shows. If UNLV wants to be a powerhouse in bassketball they need to fire Rice. The fact that they have not fired the football coach given his bottom level record, we are in for a long, long middle of the road team.

  18. The Rebels actually looked good on offense on the road which is a good sign, but their defense was horrible. They gave up layup after layup and wide open 3's to shooters-#3 and #11.
    The 3-pointer Bennett took was not a good look, it was contested and there was so much time left to get a better shot. Thats the kind of shot you take with 2 seconds left, not 15 seconds.
    Overall, it was another missed opportunity on the road. The Rebels probably have to go undefeated or lose one more the rest of the way if they want to win the league title outright. I think 13-3 or 12-4 will win the league.

  19. Bennett kept us in the game but also lost the game with that ill-advised three.

    I feel a little stupid as a Rebel fan tonight but not as stupid as Boise should feel after rushing the court!

  20. All the talent of a top 10 team but just play dumb. It is frustrating to watch.

  21. We do play in an amazing conference; however, rebels need to win that game. I am beyond irrated with the rebounding effort. 90% of the time it seems like we enjoy just standing around hoping the ball falls into our lap. You learn how to box out in elementary school. We've got to start winning these road games.

  22. James Reza just know I posted last week too. It's the same stuff every game no effort no transition defense no coaching. This team is massively underachieving. While I understand players have to take individual responsibility, the coach has to infuse the principals that will define the team. That's reflected on the floor by effort and execution which this team lacks.

  23. The Rebels give away 10 points per game on the road simply because they fall asleep on defense. They give away rebounds because the energy isn't there. They get beat on backdoor plays on the road. The team discipline on the road is terrible. Part of it is being young, and the other part of it is on the coaching. Dave Rice and the staff have got to get them to play harder on the road. The only obvious way to do that is to reduce minutes.

  24. 1. I really have to question Rice putting Reinhart on Marks at the end of the game. Marks is one of the best guards in the conference and of course he ate him up down the stretch.

    2. Where's the Senior play from Hawkins? He misses a lay-up in front of the rim. Can't hit a wide open 3. He's playing like a freshman.

    3. Bryce Jones has one of the lowest basketball IQ's. He just can't figure out you can't push off with your off hand to create a shot.

    4. The refs suck. They call ticky tack and flops all night against us, but Bennett gets hammered, slapped, and bodied up without hardly a whistle.

  25. This one is simple guys. Rice need to hire an in-game situation asst. coach. He is a great recruiter but no Grgurich. The players are not following his lead and his in-game coaching is not working. 2 Years of road losses is enough to expose the truth.

  26. Basketball IQ of this team..or at least 2 players...is off the charts stupid.

  27. The rebels were gifted that missed free throw and to be down only one point....and for Bennett to take that contested three point shot was one of the dumbest I've ever seen...you quite simply attack the basket..foul or bucket.........unbelievable .

  28. The real issue is defense and the rebels lack of it....the rebels defense used to smother gems....this is the worst defense in many years. Bennett's laziness on defense is a huge red flag if I'm a MBA gm.

  29. It's a lot of little things with their situational awareness..ie IQ...example: end of first half..last shot...down 7..... Really need to score to go into halftime down only 5 or 4.... Kick out to Hawkins for a three point shot...only problem is Justin hadn't shot all game.....talk about cold....just a poor time to jack a three...how bout katin or Marshall who were shooting very good........little things add up......

  30. I know how Reza feels.......I'm a homer myself. However, It has been frustrating watching this team play sometimes good sometimes bad. I realize domination is difficult but we are a team with a reputation now in the press and with our conference foes that we can't win on the road. That is based on fact not emotion.

  31. Offense int the issue.......Kruger would snap a vein over this defense. Bennett's feet are as lazy as any big man I've ever seen.

  32. I only caught the final minute of the UNLV game, tough loss. I was watching and enjoying the Indiana vs Michigan game. What's up with the Boise State fans rushing the court LOL. They beat an unranked, middle of the conference, so so team, a team which has difficulty winning road games. Come on, rushing the court, good grief. I thought Mr. Rice might have something up his sleeve, but then again, he rarely unfolds his arms LOL

  33. Offense isnt the issue. They played a pretty sound game on that end for the most part...the last possession not with standing. I also didnt understand Katin's looks getting cut off when he was feeling it 1st half. Feed the hot hand! Still, it was a far cry from the dysfunctional shots we were taking earlier in the yr. This game was lost on defensive end. Period. In two areas especially.

    First, their transition defense was terrible...not in getting back but religiously collapsing into the lane & not finding and closing out on shooters...thus giving open looks to a known 3pt shooting team.

    Second, if we are going to play small...then either Birch or Thomas HAS TO BE in the game!! Moser & Bennett are automatic layup conceeders & are allergic to the term "help" defense. You cant trade defense for offense on the road. Either play Moser or Bennett at the 4 & live with it or sit them. But they cannot be trusted to protect the rim defensively. Boise was a curl running lay up machine. And we accomodated them.

  34. UNLV offense was decent. Yes, they took a lot of 3's, but they were open. On that last play AB should have shot faked and attacked the basketball. However, the amoeba zone stinks (UNLV is not running it right). It either gives up a layup or 3. (players helping too much. With that said, I expected UNLV to lose this game. Boise is a bubble team.