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Rebels roll again

UNLV won its second straight game after a three-game losing skid, defeating TCU 78-62 at the Thomas & Mack Center on Wednesday night.

While the final score doesn’t tell the whole story, it was the second straight blowout for the Rebels.

UNLV led by as many as 31 points in the second half.

Chace Stanback and Tre’Von Willis each scored 16 points to lead the Rebels.

“It’s nice if we’ve both got it going a bit,” Willis said of the team’s two leading scorers. “Chace was huge for us. He rebounded the ball and he knocked down some open shots.”

Stanback added seven rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocks.

“Chace can do a little bit of everything,” UNLV head coach Lon Kruger said. “He’s a key guy for us. He did a good job tonight.”

Stanback said the team is starting to regain some momentum after the difficult three-game stretch.

“We’re starting to get our confidence back,” he said. “We know what we have to do.”

Kendall Wallace knocked down four 3-pointers and finished with 12 points. Brice Massamba added 10 and nine rebounds.

The Rebels were able to score 24 points off of 21 forced turnovers. UNLV also out-rebounded TCU, 30-28.

“We rebounded the ball well tonight and defended well,” Willis said. “Whenever we do that, we’re a real tough team to beat.”

Kruger said he was happy with the defensive teamwork.

“The activity was good defensively,” he said. “The awareness was pretty good. I thought the five guys (out on the floor at any given time) were pretty engaged and did some good things.”

Third place for better or worse

UNLV moved into a tie for third place with San Diego State by virtue of tonight’s win combined with the Aztecs loss at Brigham Young.

It might not be a place the Rebels want to hold on to for very long.

A third-place finish in the standings could very easily mean a first-round meeting in the Mountain West tournament with Utah, the only team to sweep the Rebels in conference play.

The Utes are currently a half-game behind Colorado State and have to play in Fort Collins in the regular-season finale next week.

If the Rebels do finish in third place they will certainly be rooting for Utah to move up to fifth place.

After the first round, there really isn’t too much of an advantage regardless of where the Rebels are seeded. The semifinal will likely either be against BYU or New Mexico.

Another TCU injury

Xavier Roberson injured his leg and was helped back to the TCU locker room early in the second half.

He did not return.

The Horned Frogs are already without starting forward Nikola Cerina.


TCU freshman Garlon Green finished a breakaway with a thunderous slam dunk that drew a gasp from the visiting crowd.

The aerial display shouldn’t be too surprising.

Green is the brother of former Boston Celtics guard Gerald Green, who was one of the better dunkers in the NBA during his brief career.

The elder Green, who won both the high school and NBA slam dunk competition, is currently playing professionally in Russia.

Cut to the Chace

Chace Stanback had an outstanding game, but he’s still trying to shake the memory of a dreadful performance in the loss to San Diego State last week.

Stanback went 0-for-7 from the field in his return to his native southern California on that day.

It is clearly still in his head to some extent.

After tonight’s effort, Stanback was discussing getting some of his confidence back.

“When I miss shots, I just have to keep shooting,” he said. “I’m not going to miss them all.”

He paused and looked around for a moment.

“Well, except for that one game,” he added with a chuckle.

Stanback said it helps to know everyone else in the locker room believes in him even when he is struggling.

“I know my coaches and teammates have confidence in me,” he said.

Performances like tonight’s don’t hurt that at all.

More zone talk

UNLV once again had to deal with a team trying to neutralize its strengths by playing a great deal of zone defense.

Kruger said the result for the Rebels was good because the team knocked down shots, but wasn’t overly pleased with the way the offense attacked the tricky 1-3-1 employed by the Horned Frogs.

“We had 40 points at half, but it didn’t seem like the flow was quite there,” he said.

He said the team looked “disoriented” at times in the first half.

That can’t be a good sign this late in the season.

Up next

UNLV will travel to Colorado Springs to take on Air Force on Saturday.

The Falcons are in last place with just one league win, but always pose a difficult challenge in preparation.

Air Force actually played very tough at the Thomas & Mack Center in the first meeting.

“The guys know how tough Air Force is,” Kruger said. “They played us very tough here last month. They’re a ball club that we know is going to grind and compete and do the things that they do very well.”

Willis said the key is to not allow the Falcons to do what they want to do.

“We’ve got to do things to bother them,” he said. “We can’t let them just try to run their offense all day.”

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