Fresno State (10-18) at UNLV (23-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 9, 6 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Thomas & Mack Center (18,500) -- Las Vegas, Nevada. Television: TWCSN. Home Record: FSU 6-8, UNLV 17-1. Away Record: FSU 4-10, UNLV 6-6. Neutral Record: FSU 0-0, UNLV 0-0. Conference Record: FSU 4-11, UNLV 10-5. Series Record: UNLV leads, 27-7.
GAME NOTES: Needing a win in the final game of the regular season to lock up the second seed in the upcoming Mountain West Conference Tournament, the UNLV Runnin' Rebels get set to host the Fresno State Bulldogs at the Thomas & Mack Center on Saturday.
Tied with Colorado State for second place in the MWC standings heading into the weekend, the Runnin' Rebels have rattled off five straight wins and six in the last seven outings thanks to a 68-64 victory versus Boise State at home four nights ago. UNLV now has a record of 17-1 in the desert and is a perfect 7-0 at home in conference play.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs have found the move from the Western Athletic Conference to the MWC to be a difficult one. The team has just four league wins in 15 opportunities, but did manage to snap a two-game slide last weekend with a 56-41 romp over Air Force at home, and as a result is now seventh in the league standings.
The Rebels lead the all-time series by a count of 27-7 and are a perfect 15-0 in home dates versus FSU. However, the Bulldogs stunned UNLV in the first meeting of the season last month at the Save Mart Center, 64-55.
Brad Ely made a huge impression off the bench for the Bulldogs last Saturday as he knocked down 9-of-11 shots from the floor in order to register a game- high 21 points in the win against Air Force. Also scoring in double figures for FSU was Allen Huddleston with 11 points, the team shooting only 37.5 percent from the floor and 2-of-14 beyond the arc, yet still landed in the win column.
In conference play, the Bulldogs have been less than impressive as they put up a mere 57.9 ppg, but at least the defense, giving up 62.7 ppg) has had some shining moments. Tyler Johnson is the lone double-digit scorer for the group in conference with 13.8 ppg, his 29 assists also first on the unit. A telling fact for FSU has not a single player starting every league bout this season, with only four appearing in each of those contests.
Down by as many as 11 points in the first half and seven points at the break, the Runnin' Rebels put on a furious run in the second half in order to overtake Boise State and eventually grab the victory. Anthony Marshall led the way with 16 points, seven assists and five rebounds, while Bryce Dejean-Jones matched his scoring output and added five dishes of his own. Katin Reinhardt and Anthony Bennett stepped up with 11 points apiece, the latter adding eight rebounds off the bench.
With Bennett now playing as a reserve, that has opened the door for Mike Moser to return to the starting lineup where he was such a dominant performer last season. But Moser is still having his issues following injury, shooting just 3-of-9 from the floor as he scored just seven points versus Boise State. Bennett, who has been dealing with an injury of his own in the last few weeks, is still the top scorer (16.2 ppg) and rebounder (8.3 rpg) for the Rebels, but his numbers have taken a hit.
Guarding against a let-down in their own building, the Runnin' Rebels have plenty of reasons to go all out against Fresno State in this meeting, not the least of which being a measure of revenge for the loss in California last month.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UNLV 67, Fresno State 55
03/09 10:35:35 ET