It was not just another day or any ordinary game, and UNLV senior Oscar Bellfield realized that by listening to his coach.
Dave Rice did not give a passionate speech to his team. But he did talk about the influence Charlie Spoonhour had on his life. Spoonhour, the Rebels’ coach from 2001 to 2004, died Wednesday at age 72 from a lung disease.
Rice, a former assistant under Spoonhour, said he walked all day with a "very heavy heart" after getting the call in the morning.
"He really didn’t show too many emotions before the game," Bellfield said. "He probably didn’t want it to affect us. But you could tell it really meant something to him.
"Coach Rice learned different things from him and coached under him, and that’s something special. For that person to pass away, you want to cherish it and go out and play hard."
Bellfield helped ensure a more upbeat end to the day, as he and Chace Stanback scored 16 points apiece to lift 11th-ranked UNLV to an 82-63 victory over Colorado State before a crowd of 15,053 at the Thomas & Mack Center.
A moment of silence was observed before tipoff to remember Spoonhour, and the Rebels’ players wore "CS" patches on their uniforms.
"I think Coach Spoon would have been proud of the job our guys did tonight," Rice said.
UNLV (21-3, 5-1) remained tied atop the Mountain West Conference standings with San Diego State.
Sophomore forward Mike Moser made 3 of 6 3-pointers and scored all of his 13 points in the first half, while also finishing with eight rebounds for the Rebels. Anthony Marshall had 13 points and seven assists.
Bellfield, who shot 4-for-8 on 3s, led the team in scoring for only the second time this season and first time since Nov. 25. His emergence from a shooting slump has provided a needed boost in the past three games.
"I think Oscar needed it for Oscar. As a coach, I’ve never lost confidence in him. He has put so much time in," Rice said. "The biggest thing is his teammates have confidence in Oscar."
Bellfield’s backup, sophomore Reggie Smith, made what Rice called "the play that turned the game around" in the first half. With UNLV trailing 19-12, Smith penetrated the lane and passed to the corner to Stanback, who sank a 3-pointer to trigger a 20-2 run.
The Rebels held a 48-35 halftime lead, but the Rams scored the first 11 points of the second half. The surge was stopped by Stanback, who spun into the lane and made a jumper with 16:40 to go.
After a jumper by Marshall and two free throws from Justin Hawkins, UNLV put on full-court pressure and Hawkins stole the inbounds pass in the right corner. Marshall swung the ball to Bellfield, who buried a 3-pointer from the opposite corner.
An acrobatic fast-break layup by Hawkins, who switched hands in midair while spinning from the right side of the rim to the left, finished off the Rebels’ own 11-0 run.
"The fact that it went in was just crazy," said Hawkins, who had two steals and made a major impact with his defensive pressure.
"My teammates have been on me for the past five or six games, saying I’m not really the same person on the defensive end," Hawkins said. "(Moser) said I haven’t been getting many steals and many stops. So I decided it was time for me to really turn it up."
With seven minutes left and the Rebels up 11, Bellfield made a 3-pointer and Marshall dunked on the break to put the game away.
Rice praised the contributions from reserves Hawkins, Smith and junior forward Quintrell Thomas, who had nine points and six rebounds.
With 42 seconds left, Rice attempted to empty his bench, but he confirmed that sophomore guard Karam Mashour declined the opportunity to play. Moser stayed on the floor instead.
Wes Eikmeier’s 18 points topped Colorado State (14-7, 3-3), and Dorian Green added 15. The Rams did not try to slow down the game, as expected, and were outscored 27-2 in fast-break points.
"We did think they were going to come out slow, but they pushed the pace," Moser said. "Teams that do that will be in for a long night."
The Rebels shot 50 percent from the field and had 24 assists on 30 field goals.
"We talk all the time about making the extra pass," Rice said. "Our ball movement was terrific."
Contact reporter Matt Youmans at email@example.com or 702-387-2907.UNLV — 82
COLORADO STATE — 63
KEY: Oscar Bellfield and Chace Stanback scored 16 points apiece to lead the Rebels.
NEXT: UNLV at Wyoming, 1 p.m. Saturday, The Mtn. (334), KWWN (1100 AM, 98.9 FM)