Kansas City, MO (Sports Network) – Oscar Bellfield made a key late three-pointer, as the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels took down the short-handed 11th-ranked Kansas State Wildcats 63-59 on Tuesday night.
Bellfield ended with 11 points for the Rebels (11-2), who defeated a team
ranked as high or higher than No. 11 for the first time since the 2007 NCAA
Tournament when they defeated then-No. 6 Wisconsin to advance to the Sweet 16.
Tre’Von Willis led the way with 16 points for UNLV, which has won two in a row
since a two-game skid. Anthony Marshall tallied 11 points off the bench.
“We pride ourselves on keeping our heads up and always bringing a fight,”
Willis said. “It was a great crowd, and we knew it was us against everyone
else. We knew we had to stay together and try to accomplish the win.”
Nick Russell finished with 12 points for the Wildcats (9-3), who were forced
to play without their top two scorers. Seniors Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly
were ruled ineligible by the school prior to the game for a secondary
violation of NCAA rules.
Rodney McGruder and Jamar Samuels each had 11 points for Kansas State, which
has lost two in a row. Martavious Irving chipped in with 10 points.
Will Spradling’s three-pointer and McGruder’s slam has the Wildcats within
one, 52-51, with 7 1/2 minutes to play. But Kansas State quickly went cold
from the field.
Anthony Marshall’s three-point play had the Rebels ahead by four, 55-51, with
over seven minutes to go. The next points in the game didn’t come until Jordan
Henriquez-Roberts made two free throws for Kansas State with 5:50 remaining.
Another long scoring drought took place after Marshall made 1-of-2 from the
foul line for a 56-53 margin with 5 1/2 minutes left.
Samuels made 1-of-2 free throws with 2 1/2 minutes to go, but Bellfield
responded with a big three-pointer one minute later to make it 59-54.
“We were kind of struggling to get points,” Bellfield said. “I got the ball,
and I did not even think about it; I just let it go.”
Kansas State finally made a shot from the floor when Irving made a layup with
22 seconds left. UNLV made 4-of-4 shots from the charity stripe the rest of
the way to seal the victory.
“We are immature. Somewhere along the lines our guys think that you can win
basketball games without passing the basketball,” Kansas State head coach
Frank Martin said. “We had six assists and 23 turnovers and all 23 were non-
aggressive turnovers. It is frustrating to watch.”
The Rebels raced out to a 15-7 lead early on. That margin increased to 28-19
on Bellfield’s layup with under 6 1/2 minutes left.
Kansas State fought back with 10 unanswered points to take their first lead of
the game. Irving’s layup made it 29-28, and the Wildcats took a 34-32 edge
into the locker room.
UNLV leads the all-time series with KSU, 4-2…Pullen and Kelly received
impermissible benefits on the purchase of clothing at a Manhattan department
store. Pullen, who entered the year as the Big 12 preseason player of the
year, is averaging 16.5 points and 3.8 assists this season. He will miss three
games for his actions. Kelly is averaging 10.3 points and 4.0 rebounds. The
NCAA has yet to rule on Kelly’s status…The Wildcats had won 28 consecutive
non-conference home games dating back to 2007…UNLV head coach Lon Kruger,
who not only starred for the Wildcats on the court as a two-time Big Eight
Player of the Year from 1971-74, coached the squad to 81 wins and four NCAA
Tournament appearances from 1986-90…Kansas State turned the ball over 23
times, leading to 21 UNLV points.