Fort Worth, TX – Locked in a three-way tie for first place in ranked UNLV Meyer Coliseum in Fort Worth this evening.
UNLV, which is tied with both San Diego State and New Mexico with a record of 6-2 in league play, avenged the loss earlier this season to the Aztecs by claiming a hard-fought 65-63 win in the most recent meeting over the weekend at the Thomas & Mack Center. The Rebels, winners of six of their last seven outings, have matched their highest placement in the AP poll from earlier this season, an achievement not seen in Las Vegas in nearly two decades.
As for the Horned Frogs, a group which is tied with both Wyoming and Colorado State for fourth place in the MWC at the moment, they came away with a 75-71 win over Colorado State on Saturday night, snapping a two-game slide in order to get back to .500 in league play at 4-4. The home victory kept TCU perfect in four tries versus MWC foes in Fort Worth, 11-2 overall in 2011-12.
The Rebels blew the doors off TCU in the first meeting of the season last month in Las Vegas by a score of 101-78. Mike Moser, who just earned MWC Player of the Week honors for the fourth time this season on Monday, posted 16 points and 15 rebounds in the first matchup, one of three UNLV players to score in double figures as the team shot not only 57.8 percent from the floor, but also 11-of-21 behind the three-point line.
With the overwhelming win the first time around, UNLV now owns a 17-2 advantage in the all-time series with the Horned Frogs, taking six straight contests.
The Rebels should have had the meeting with San Diego State in the bag on Saturday, leading by 13 points in the second half, but still the locals had to come up with three steals in the final 42 seconds in order to secure the two- point decision at the Thomas & Mack. Moser came up a rebound shy of yet another double-double as he tallied 19 points, but he still found the time to post six steals, four blocked shots and a pair of assists, against just a single turnover. Oscar Bellfield and Brice Massamba responded with 15 and 12 points, respectively, while Anthony Marshall compensated for just 2-of-9 shooting from the floor by handing out eight assists and grabbing six rebounds. Moser has been on a mission for the Rebels all season long and after his performance on Saturday he might finally be getting some much-deserved national recognition with his 14.7 points and 11.4 rebounds per game. Throw in 51 steals, 24 blocked shots and 60 assists and there are few players in the nation who can duplicate his versatility. Chace Stanback (13.3 ppg) helps to shoulder some of the scoring burden thanks to his 44.3 percent accuracy behind the three-point line, but the team as a whole is still shooting only 36.3 percent out on the perimeter as they generate 79.5 ppg.
The Horned Frogs trailed by 10 points late in the first half against Colorado State after allowing the Rams to connect on better than 57 percent from the floor, but the second half was a different story and TCU was able to salvage the close call after surviving eight ties and just as many lead changes. Craig Williams gave the hosts a huge boost off the bench as he tallied 20 points, shooting 4-of-5 behind the three-point line, the team converting 12of-27 beyond the arc collectively. Hank Thorns tallied 15 points and six assists, J.R. Cadot 14 points and seven boards and Garlon Green 10 points for the victors. In the last six games the Frogs have had five different leading scorers which means either they are potentially balanced on offense or that there's too much inconsistency that prevents the group from counting on just one player to lead them on a regular basis. It seems like the answer might be the latter since Thorns (12.9 ppg) leads the team in scoring and assists (111) but is shooting just 38.4 percent from the floor and that has brought the entire team down to only 43.8 percent for the season.