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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 23, 7:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Arena Auditorium (15,000) -- Laramie, Wyoming. Television: TWCSN. Home Record: UNLV 16-1, Wyoming 12-3. Away Record: UNLV 4-6, Wyoming 6-5. Neutral Record: UNLV 0-0, Wyoming 0-0. Conference Record: UNLV 7-5, Wyoming 4-8. Series Record: UNLV leads, 31-15.
GAME NOTES: The UNLV Runnin' Rebels try to establish a three-game win streak for the first time since before Christmas as they settle in against the Wyoming Cowboys for a Mountain West Conference showdown at Arena Auditorium on Saturday.
The Rebels have had their troubles since bowing to North Carolina on the road just before the end of the 2012 calendar year. They are just 7-5 in conference play even though it was expected to be one of the squads fighting for the regular season title. However, UNLV did show signs of life on Wednesday night with a 61-59 win over nationally-ranked Colorado State at home in the Thomas & Mack Center.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys have also had problems since they lost their top scorer (Luke Martinez), and the issues continued on Tuesday night when the group suffered a 79-51 loss against San Diego State on the road. The defeat snapped a two-game win streak for the Pokes who are now only 4-8 in conference play.
The Runnin' Rebels won the first meeting of the season back in January at home by a score of 62-50, which means the all-time series now numbers 31-15 in favor of UNLV. The Rebels have won seven of the last eight encounters.
With Colorado State being the top rebounding team in the country, the Runnin' Rebels opted to attack from the perimeter and use their guard play to dictate the tempo. The ploy worked as Anthony Marshall hit the game-winning shot in the final seconds to snap the fifth tie of the contest. Marshall finished with 11 points, trailing only Katin Reinhardt and Bryce Dejean-Jones who both tallied 15 points and pulled down six rebounds for the hosts.
Anthony Bennett, who was held to only eight points and seven rebounds in the victory over the Rams, continues to lead UNLV in both of those categories with 17.6 points and 8.7 rebounds per outing. Because of Bennett, the Rebels are beating the competition on the glass by seven boards per game and often times those second-chance scoring opportunities have come in handy for a squad that is producing 72.9 ppg.
Against the Aztecs, Wyoming took the floor at Viejas Arena without one of their key big men in Leonard Washington (13.8 ppg, 9.1 rpg) who was hampered by an ankle injury. As a result, the Cowboys came up with a paltry 16 boards, just four at the offensive end of the floor as SDSU dominated in the paint. Derrious Gilmore tried to give the visitors a fighting chance with 15 points, but he was the only starter in double figures, while Matt Sellers checked in with 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the floor in just nine minutes off the bench.
With Washington possibly out of the picture, that leaves Gilmore as the active leading scorer for the Cowboys with his 12.6 ppg, with a large portion of those points coming from behind the 3-point line where he has converted 60- of-156. Larry Nance Jr. checks in with 10.0 ppg and will have to assert himself even more in the paint where he is pulling down seven rebounds per contest for a team that is being beaten on the glass by three rebounds per game at the moment.
If the Cowboys can keep the scoring to a minimum they might have a shot at keeping up, but should they be without Washington in the paint again this is a meeting that could get out of hand early.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UNLV 71, Wyoming 55
02/23 10:34:56 ET