FORT COLLINS, Colo. — UNLV may not win a regular season Mountain West championship for a 12th straight season but the Runnin’ Rebels can lay claim to another pretty remarkable stat.
How about four straight road losses where the opposing team’s fans stormed the court to celebrate at the end?
The folks at Colorado State’s Moby Arena got their chance on Wednesday night after the Rams (18-10, 7-6) rallied from a 16-point second half deficit to defeat the Rebels, 66-59.
“We’ve certainly had some difficult losses this year and this is absolutely right at the top,” UNLV coach Dave Rice said.
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Junior forward Pierce Hornung had a key block and two big rebound baskets in the final 1:06 to lead the way for the Rams, who also got a big game from guard Dorian Green (16 points, 14 in the second half).
UNLV (24-7, 8-5) seemingly had the game under control, jumping out to a 41-26 halftime lead behind the long-range shooting of senior point guard Oscar Bellfield (17 points, 5-of-8 3-pointers).
Bellfield’s fifth trey of the game with 16:30 to go extended UNLV’s lead to 16 points, 47-31. But the Rebel offense, much like it had done in the second half of a 65-45 loss at New Mexico on Feb. 18, went in the deep freeze after that.
Colorado State went on a 22-5 run over the next 9½ minutes to take a 53-52 lead on a three-point play by Green. UNLV regained the lead briefly, 54-53, on a pair of Mike Moser free throws with 6:43 left. But Green quickly answered with a 17-foot jumper to put Colorado State back in front and the Rams never trailed again.
UNLV, which shot 58.3 percent (7-of-12) from 3-point range in the first half, scored just four field goals in the final 16½ minutes and was just 6-of-22 (27.3 percent) in the second half.
“We didn’t have the same offensive pace in the second half that we had in the first half,” Rice said. “The second half we ran out of gas.”
The loss knocks UNLV out of a tie for first place with New Mexico and San Diego State in the Mountain West with just one game to go.
“I feel terrible for our seniors,” Rice said. “It (winning a Mountain West championship) was right there for us but we didn’t get it done.”
“Embarrassed, angry, disappointed,” guard Anthony Marshall said of the loss.