Boise State heads to Sin City to challenge 21st-ranked UNLV

Losers of two straight and three of the last four outings, the UNLV Runnin' Rebels find themselves now ranked 21st in the country as they await the arrival of the Boise State Broncos for a Mountain West Conference showdown at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Just a short time ago it was the Rebels and San Diego State fighting for the top spot in the MWC standings and now both of those squads are trying to catch up to New Mexico, the same New Mexico that throttled UNLV on Saturday in a 65-45 final in Albuquerque. The scoring output by the Rebels was easily the lowest of the season for the squad and was a far cry from the 97 points the team tallied against TCU just four days earlier in a five-point overtime loss. Now tied with the Aztecs for second in the conference standings, UNLV is undefeated at home through 14 games so at least the team has that going in their favor after a difficult couple of weeks.

As for the Broncos, this is their first year in the MWC after making the move over from the Western Athletic Conference and early on the transition was clearly a difficult one for the program. However, since dropping seven in a row to begin conference play, BSU has turned the corner and rattled off three straight victories, the latest of those coming against TCU on Saturday in a thrilling 65-64 final. Even though Boise State is still tied for last place in the conference standings, the team certainly has reason to be encouraged.

UNLV leads the all-time series by a count of 3-1, but the Rebels had to go to overtime to take out Boise State on the road at Taco Bell Arena in the first meeting of the season by a score of 77-72.

Anthony Drmic knocked down a pair of free throws with 0.9 seconds remaining to give the Boise State Broncos a thrilling one-point win over the TCU Horned Frogs in Mountain West Conference action at Taco Bell Arena on Saturday afternoon. Drmic finished the afternoon with 10 points for the Broncos, followed by Derrick Marks who accounted for 13 points and seven rebounds and Kenny Buckner 12 points and six boards for the hosts. BSU survived despite shooting only 4-of-16 behind the three-point line. The epitome of balanced scoring, the Broncos have only one player scoring in double figures this season and still the squad is generating 70.5 ppg. Drmic checks in with 12.3 ppg, although his mere 38.5 percent accuracy from the floor is certainly questionable. Marks (9.2 ppg) and Buckner (9.0 ppg) pick up some of the slack as they convert 51.3 and 60.9 percent from the floor, respectively.

Playing in The Pit is never easy for the competition and the Runnin' Rebels were reminded of that on Saturday as they were crushed by the Lobos. UNLV finished the contest shooting a mere 14-of-45 from the floor and ended up with more turnovers (17) than made baskets. While it would not have made enough of a difference in the outcome, had the Rebels shot better than 11-of-21 at the free-throw line perhaps the visitors could have gone about it another way. Anthony Marshall was the only player in double figures for the Rebels as he dropped in 18 points, adding 10 rebounds to pace the team in that department as well. Completely taken out of his game was Mike Moser who delivered just eight points and four rebounds in 30 minutes of action. Moser is the one who makes this run-and-gun offense move, averaging 14.7 points and 11.0 rebounds per game, so when he is brought to a halt so is the team. Chace Stanback is responsible for 13.1 ppg as he gives the squad a presence on the perimeter where he is shooting 45.7 percent, but even with the Rebels hitting 62 more three-pointers than the competition running the floor and pushing the ball inside is still what makes this group tick.