Published November 20, 2014
No. 11 UNLV let up again, and it cost the Runnin' Rebels big time.
Mike Moser had 22 points, but UNLV blew an 18-point lead in the second half and lost 102-97 in overtime at TCU.
"One of the things we're not very good at right now is keeping our foot on the pedal on both ends of the floor," Rebels coach Dave Rice said. "For us to be a very good team, for us to advance to being a very good team, we have to have almost that killer instinct where if we're up six, get up eight; if we're up 18, try to get up 22, 24. We just have a tendency to let off the accelerator a little bit."
Las Vegas native Hank Thorns scored eight of his career-high 32 points in overtime for the Horned Frogs (15-10, 5-4 Mountain West), who beat a ranked team for the first time in five years.
TCU was still down by 15 points midway through the second half.
The Frogs hadn't led since the opening minutes of the game when Thorns started overtime with a layup to make it 87-85. And they held onto the lead from there. Thorns made his eighth 3-pointer of the game with 1:21 left, dribbling in a circle around a couple defenders and then shooting over one to make it 96-91.
"It's hard to put it into perspective — down 18 points to the No. 11 team in the country," TCU coach Jim Christian said. "Our kids were so resilient and play so hard."
UNLV (22-5, 6-3) had won 13 of its previous 15 games, the losses by a combined four points. The Rebels were coming off a 65-63 win over No. 13 San Diego State, where they had a 13-point lead with 15 minutes left. They also had a double-digit lead at Boise State three weeks ago before winning that game in overtime.
Against TCU, the Rebels scored the first eight points of the second half to push ahead 56-43.
They were up 76-61 with 9:54 left after Moser scored five quick points. Moser made a nifty basket at one end, then grabbed a long rebound on the other and drove for a layup while being fouled. He then made the free throw.
"We played very well to start the second half to get that lead," Rice said. "Then giving them confidence to let them back in the game is frustrating."
All five UNLV starters scored in double figures. Anthony Marshall and Chace Stanback had 17 points apiece. Oscar Bellfield scored 16 and Brice Massamba 12.
Just four weeks ago against TCU in Las Vegas, the Rebels opened the game with an 18-2 run. They led by at least 13 points the rest of the way and won 101-78.
Thorns finished 11 for 21 from the field, including 8 for 12 from beyond the arc. He called it a dream come true to beat the Rebels and celebrate with TCU students on the court after a big victory.
"He's a special player," Marshall said. "I grew up with him playing against him and with him. When he gets hot like that, he makes things happen and that's what he did."
TCU actually had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation after Bellfield had a turnover, but Thorns made one pass too many.
Kyan Anderson stole the ball and got it to Thorns, who was driving toward the basket. Instead of taking the shot, he dished it to J.R. Cadot, who made the layup — except the clock ran out before the ball got out of his hand.
TCU's last win over a ranked team had been 71-66 over No. 14 Air Force.
"UNLV's a phenomenal team, and I'm not taking anything away from them," Christian said. "But don't take anything away from our team. They didn't give us this game, we won this game."