Bakersfield, CA (Sports Network) - Off to their best start in nearly two decades, the 17th-ranked UNLV Runnin' Rebels take on the Roadrunners of Cal State Bakersfield for the first time ever tonight at Rabobank Arena in the Golden State.
Since losing to Wisconsin (62-51) on the road on December 10, the Runnin' Rebels have ripped off six straight wins thanks to a 74-69 triumph at Hawaii on New Year's Eve. UNLV, which is tied for the most wins in the nation with 15, is under the direction of first-year head coach Dave Rice who was part of the UNLV 1990 national title team and had spent 11 years as an assistant with the program.
Coach Rice has again opened up the offense for the infamous run-and-gun squad which is leading to more exciting action for a team has suffered just one other loss against Wichita State during the Mountain West-Missouri Valley Conference Challenge earlier this season.
As for the Roadrunners, operating as an Independent at the Division I level these days, they have filled their schedule with some rather tough competition this season and actually had a four-game win streak early on after opening with an 86-62 loss to Oregon State. Most recently, the team nearly took down New Mexico State on Monday night before suffering a 73-72 setback at home.
UNLV turned the ball over 16 times and shot a mere 4-of-18 behind the three- point line at Hawaii, but still the nationally-ranked program pulled out the win in enemy territory. Despite his personal seven miscues, Anthony Marshall still played well enough to register one of two double-doubles for the visitors as he registered team highs with 19 points and 13 rebounds, while Mike Moser had a similar effort with 15 points and 12 boards for the Rebels. Chace Stanback tacked on another 13 points as the team held the Warriors to just 34.3 percent from the floor and 3-of-17 beyond the arc. Stanback is the top scorer for the team at this stage of the season with his 15.3 ppg, getting the job done out on the perimeter where he has made good on half of his 84 three-point tries, while Moser is charged up with the quick pace set by UNLV as he averages a double-double with 14.0 points and 11.1 rebounds per outing.
Thanks to a successful layup and a free throw by Issiah Grayson down the stretch, the Roadrunners actually held a one-point lead over New Mexico State earlier this week with just seconds remaining, but in the final moments the Aggies went to the free-throw line themselves and knocked down a pair to seal the one-point decision at the Icardo Center. Grayson finished with just seven points, but he was also responsible for 10 assists and four steals, while Stephon Carter was leading the group on offense with 16 points. Donald Johnson and Tyrone White chipped in with 15 points apiece as well versus NMSU. Grayson, a starter in all but one of 15 games this season, leads the team in scoring with 11.5 ppg and is also the one who is most responsible for getting his teammates involved in the action with his 5.3 apg. Carter checks in with 10.3 ppg, even though he is shooting just 39.4 percent from the floor and connected on 20.0 percent out on the perimeter.
01/05 10:56:07 ET