Three takeaways from the UNLV basketball team’s 69-49 loss to Colorado State on Saturday at the Thomas & Mack Center:
1. THIS WAS BAD, REALLY BAD
This has been a season of low moments for UNLV, and though this wasn’t the lowest, it’s in the conversation.
No shame in losing to Colorado State, even one as short-handed as the Rams, but to get blown out at home was inexcusable. The Rebels were outscored by 13 points in the second half and made just 28.1 percent of their shots while allowing Colorado State to shoot 53.8 percent.
UNLV coach Marvin Menzies called the performance a “collective catastrophe” on his postgame radio show.
“In the second half, the dam broke,” Menzies said later in his postgame news conference. “Sometimes when you don’t make shots at your end, you don’t defend with the same intensity. That’s a maturity thing. That’s an experience thing. I expect more from these guys to fight for a full 40 minutes, and we played hard for 20 defensively.”
After three consecutive losses by a total of eight points, at least the Rebels could walk away knowing they had every chance to win those games. Not this time.
2. CONFIDENCE CAN’T BE HIGH
UNLV next plays at UNR on Wednesday, always an emotional trip, and even more so this season with former Rebels coach Dave Rice now a Wolf Pack assistant. At least for the three Rebels who played for Rice.
But the Rebels take no momentum into that game, and after losing four games in a row, their mental state can’t be in a good place.
“Losing is just not good, and you’ve got to see how your guys respond to it,” Menzies said. “We lost three in a row, but they kept fighting every game. This was a different kind of loss, so now you’re going to be tested. What you’re made of now will come through a little bit. So we’ll see.”
UNLV needs to put something together to take into the conference tournament next month, but four of the remaining seven regular-season games are on the road. UNLV also travels to San Diego State, Air Force and Fresno State.
Not exactly an easy task.
3. LARRY EUSTACHY CAN COACH
Colorado State has won four of five games, with three of those victories on the road. That includes wins at Utah State and San Diego State, two of the tougher places to play in the Mountain West.
At 7-4 in the conference, the Rams are challenging the league leaders, with no team pulling away.
Just putting the Rams and their seven scholarship players in contention for the regular-season title should put coach Larry Eustachy in the running for Mountain West Coach of the Year.
Contact Mark Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2914. Follow @markanderson65 on Twitter.