UNLV’s offense finally awakened from a two-and-a-half game slump in the second half, as the Runnin’ Rebels overcame a seven-point deficit to beat Colorado State, 68-61, before a rowdy sellout crowd in Fort Collins. The Rebels (20-7 overall, 8-5 Mountain West Conference) needed a last-second shot from Justin Hawkins just to pull within 27-22 at halftime. The first half looked a lot like the last two games, as the Rebels shot just 25% (9-for-35), had just one three-pointer, and matched their season-low in first half scoring. But things were much different in the second half, as UNLV shot better than 50%, including 7-of-13 on three-pointers. The Rebel defense held the Rams (18-8, 8-4) to just 4-of-17 from three-point range and forced 17 Colorado State turnovers.
The Rebels got contributions from several key players, led by Oscar Bellfield’s 18 points, including 4-of-8 from three-point range. Anthony Marshall finished with 16 points and six assists, Chace Stanback had 12 points and 11 rebounds, and Tre’Von Willis led the team with eight assists, despite struggling with his shot and aggravating a knee injury that had him visibly hobbling for much of the game.
The win was big for the Rebels, as it avenged a 15-point loss to the Rams at the Thomas & Mack Center earlier this season. It also improved UNLV’s record to 10-3 in road/neutral site games, and drew the Rebels to within a half-game of the Rams for third place in the Mountain West standings. Next up, UNLV travels to New Mexico to meet the Lobos on Wednesday night.