UNLV-Air Force: Rebels Shoot Down The Academy: 59-38

Richard MarshSenior Analyst IFebruary 1, 2009

Joe Darger and Kendall Wallace led the way in Colorado Springs today as the Rebels played great defense for 40 minutes and held the Air Force Academy to under 40 points.

In fact, the Rebels defense has had only one other game where they held their opponent to under 50 points and that was a 73-48 win over Texas Pan American back in November.

The Rebels under Lon Kruger had lost four straight in Colorado Springs and the team hadn't beat the Falcons on their floor since the Charlie Spoonauer years. The offense was efficient but certainly not spectacular. The Rebels had just 18 points with five minutes left in the first half.

With Wallace and Darger pounding threes, the rest of the team seemed content to go back to their bombs away of previous games. Joe was the leading scorer with 18 points and 11 rebounds. He also held Air Force's best three point shooter, Matt Holland to 13 points on 5-for-10 from three point range. Kendall Wallace hit on five threes to put the game out of reach.

The Rebels have at times this season, especially in it's two road losses, played down to the competition. They must realize that this upcoming game on Tuesday Night with San Diego State Aztecs at the Thomas and Mack will be a dog fight.

People who cover the Mountain West Conference have said on more than one occasion that the Aztecs have the most talent in the the conference and the Rebels will have to play 40 solid minutes of defense the way they did today and the offense must again, as they did against BYU and Utah, step it up a number of notches to keep the lead in the conference standings.

Today was a game that the Rebels could have let slip by anticipating the Aztecs visit on Tuesday. This is what makes Lon Kruger a great coach. He worked the team hard in practice as they had a week to prepare. It happened at TCU and Colorado State and he made sure it didn't happen again in Colorado Springs.