UNLV’s Khem Birch courageously played through pain and laid it all on the line. But the Rebels went out with a whimper anyway, getting knocked out of the Mountain West tournament Friday night while resembling a dispirited and dysfunctional mess in the process.
In a game during which San Diego State was determined to take away UNLV’s big-man tandem of Khem Birch and Roscoe Smith, the Rebels’ guards had an opportunity to seize the moment and carry the team into the Mountain West tournament championship game. Didn’t happen. Never had a chance.
Not that New Mexico needed any extra motivation. But when San Diego State’s win over UNLV went final, the Lobos knew what they had to do.
They could have played all day.
The origin dates to Elizabeth Barrett Browning in 1839. The line was later listed as “The third time is lucky.” UNLV doesn’t need such fortune Friday night. But it better be a whole lot smarter than it was Thursday.
Believe it or not, it’s not all about underdog stories in March. Sometimes, it’s about a survival of the favorites, such as Kansas, which escaped early elimination by following freshman leader Andrew Wiggins.