Tre'Von Willis and Chase Stanback combined for 49 points as the UNLV Runnin' Rebels beat the Texas Christian University's Horned Frogs in Fort Worth with a 79-70 score.
Both Willis and Stanback had career highs with Willis scoring 30 while Stanback added 19. These two players have been coach Lon Kruger's go to guys especially since the beginning of Mountain West Conference play. Willis is the leading scorer in Conference play and has scored at least 20 points in his last six games.
Stanback, the UCLA transfer, has lifted his all around game to new heights since the season began.
What I find interesting is how the rest of the squad producers a new significant contributor to each game. Wednesday at Colorado State, freshman guard Justin Hawkins had 10 key points in that game while today it was junior forward Matt Shaw who had 10 points in only nine minutes of play.
Once again Kruger's three headed monsters, Shaw, Massamba and Santee at center had 22 points. Derrick Jasper led the Rebels with nine rebounds. The Rebels shot lights out from the floor and the foul line. They were just under 60 percent from the floor despite going 4-15 beyond the three point arc.
For the second straight game they shot over 80 percent from the foul line with Tre'von Willis leading the way with 11-14.
TCU made a late run while being down by as much as 10 in the second half. They tied the score at 60 with eight and a half minutes remaining. The Rebels then pulled away to an eight point lead but the Horned Frogs came back again to within two points at 72-70. The Rebels then scored the last points of the game.
The Rebels moved to 4-2 in conference play. They have a home game Tuesday against the Air Force Academy, then an eight day layoff before going to Wyoming the following Wednesday. They then return home to face Mountain Conference leader BYU on Sat. February 6th.
That will be an afternoon game which will be in front of a sellout crowd at the Thomas and Mack Center. With BYU, New Mexico and UNLV all playing at a very high caliber, it expects to be a dogfight for the conference crown. The MWC Tournament begins March 10th here in Las Vegas and the possibility of three or four teams coming out of this conference to the NCAA Tournament is gathering national support.
As I write this BYU leads San Diego State by one early in the second half. The Cougars will then travel to New Mexico on Wednesday to face the Lobos in "The Pit" which is no easy task.
This was the best all around game played by the Rebels since their two victories in Hawaii. If they continue on this pace the Rebels will be dancing again. Take note, this is a very young team that is projected to be even better next year. For the time being continue to enjoy this group of closely knit players who have the potential, depending on the match-ups, to do some major damage come tournament time.
Right now it's very exciting to be a Rebels fan.
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