Kendall Wallace is a three point specialist. In any game where he's on the floor, Kendall is capable of making game-changing shots. Yesterday was one of those days. In fact, it was the best three-point performance in Wallace's career at UNLV.
In 23 minutes on the floor, Kendall sent up 10 shots from behind the three point line and nailed seven of them for a career high 21 points. At one point in the second half, Kendall netted three's on four straight possessions, literally stabbing a dagger into the heart of Steve Alford's Lobos.
I remember Alford when he played for Bobby Knight at Indiana, and he was the best three-point shooter I have ever seen. Rebel team leader Tre'Von Willis played his second straight extremely strong game scoring 20 points with four assists and two rebounds. Chase Stanback added 14 points in his game high 33 minutes for the Rebels.
The Lobo's put four players in double figures and out rebounded the Rebels by margin of 35-26.
The loss for the Lobos was the first in the last 19 games in "The Pit", which has always been known as a very tough court for a visiting team to win there. New Mexico, who was ranked as high as 12th in the national polls, has dropped three of it's last four— including a road loss at another Mountain West Power, San Diego State.
Already in conference play people are giving three or sometimes even four berths to the big dance this year. The Pac-10 is terrible, and the Big West doesn't have more than one or two teams worthy of that.
The Rebels definitely needed yesterday's win. Coach Kruger said his team had to close out games such as the one they let get away at BYU on Wednesday.
The Rebels will be happy to get back to the Thomas and Mack and they will have another challenge awaiting them. San Diego State have beat the Rebels in the last three games they played, including two on the Rebels' home court.
In this very competitive Mountain West Conference every game, even the early ones, can be labeled critical. A win against San Diego State will most likely get the Rebels back into the national polls. They really don't mean much though, except to the fans.
I look for a big effort on Wednesday in front of a sell out crowd at the Thomas and Mack.
Prediction—Rebels 71 San Diego St 69