UNLV-San Diego State: Rebels Fall at San Diego 68-58
Numbers don't lie. Here's how a Top 25 team loses on the road. You shoot 35 percent from the floor. You go 3-17 from behind the arc, and you're out-rebounded 37-22. To make matters worse, you have the ball stolen nine times and nine of your shots are blocked.
It appears that the big win just one week ago today against BYU might have been the highlight to the Runnin' Rebels season, and perhaps the end of the season as well.
After two straight losses to New Mexico at home on Wednesday and today's loss at San Diego State, the Rebels have not only put their once probable NCAA Tournament bid on hold, they very might find themselves back in the NIT and a once very promising season coming to an extremely poor end.
UNLV, who had developed a level of consistency on both ends of the court, have gone completely cold. Tre' Von Willis has been the guy other teams have focused on and is getting doubled and triple teamed at times, and the surrounding players are not stepping up.
It has now become how very apparent the loss of Derrick Jasper has been pivotal. Today freshman Anthony Marshall replaced Kendall Wallace in the starting lineup primarily because Wallace is clearly better coming off the bench and providing a spark.
What I don't understand is why Coach Lon Kruger never has two of his three big men on the court at the same time. Massamba, Santee and Shaw all replace each other in the lineup, but never have I seen two of the three on the court at the same time. If the Rebels have had one glaring weakness during Kruger's tenure, it is the lack of height and bulk in the front court.
The rebounding is as weak as it has been all year, and if changes aren't made soon, we will be talking about next season next week.
Admittedly, I definitely got caught up in the BYU win. I believe the team did as well. The road gets no easier when the Rebels travel to Salt Lake City on Wednesday to take on the Runnin' Utes, who already have a road victory this year at UNLV and who lost at home tonight in double overtime to conference leader New Mexico.
This is another team that UNLV does not match up well against. They are bigger and taller once again in the front court, and unless the Rebels pick up the intensity, enthusiasm and desire, they will looking at a three game losing streak at the most important point in the season.
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