Feb. 2, 2012
By Danny Mattie
Athletic Media Relations
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The Colorado State men’s basketball team came up short Wednesday night in its bid for a second-consecutive victory over a top-15 team, falling to No. 11/13 UNLV, 82-63, in front of 15,053 fans at the Thomas & Mack Center.
The Rams (14-7, 3-3 MW) raced out to strong starts in both halves, pulling ahead by as many as seven points, 19-12, at the 13:17 mark of the opening stanza. But the Runnin’ Rebels’ first-half shooting from long range, and their transition game proved too much, as UNLV (21-3, 5-1 MW) outscored CSU by a 27-2 margin on the fast break to remain unbeaten (13-0) at home.
“(UNLV’s) greatest strength is transition play,” said Head Coach Tim Miles following the game. “It’s better than anyone in our league.”
Colorado State jumped out to its early advantage with an 11-1 run capped by a Wes Eikmeier jumper at the 13:17 mark of the first half. But the Rams scored just one more basket, another Eikmeier bucket, over the next eight minutes and UNLV used a 20-2 run to take a 48-35 lead at halftime.
“It doesn’t take many mistakes against a team the quality of UNLV to let it get away from you,” added Miles.
The Rams regrouped at halftime and pulled to within one possession, 48-46, with an 11-0 run over the first three minutes of the second period.
“I have to credit our players for coming back after half,” added Miles. “We got it to within a possession, but you have to credit UNLV. They did a tremendous job tonight.”
The Rebels responded to the Rams’ run with an 11-0 run of their own, pushing the lead back to 13 points, and eventually coasting to the 19-point victory.
Eikmeier, the Mountain West’s second-leading scorer, paced all players with 18 points in the contest, while junior guard Dorian Green added 15 and classmate Greg Smith added 13 points and a team-leading seven rebounds. Senior forward Will Bell added 10 points and six rebounds in the contest, and freshman guard Cody Mann led CSU with three assists.
UNLV was led in scoring by Chace Stanback and Oscar Bellfield who each notched 16 points. Mike Moser, the MW’s top rebounder, pulled down a game-high eight boards and added 13 points, matching teammate Anthony Marshall’s offensive output.
The Rebels outshot the Rams 50 percent to 41.1 percent, and connected on nine three-pointers, including 7-of-13 from long range in the opening half. UNLV also held a 39-28 rebounding edge, and dished out 24 assists, a season-high for a CSU opponent.
The Rams will now return to Fort Collins to host in-state rival Air Force Saturday afternoon at Moby Arena. The Rams and Falcons are slated for a 3 p.m. MT tipoff and the game will be televised live nationally on CBS Sports Network. Tickets are available online at CSURams.com, by call 800/491-RAMS, or in person at the McGraw Athletic Center ticket office.
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