It was the lowest of a season full of lows for UNLV basketball on Saturday afternoon at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Getting blown out 94-45 by a Duke team loaded with McDonald’s All-Americans and future NBA stars? No real surprise.
Losing at home by 18 to a hot-shooting Boise State squad in the first game of 2017. Understandable.
But Saturday’s 69-49 loss to a Colorado State team that had just seven scholarship players available and had lost to teams like Loyola Marymount and Long Beach State earlier in the year was head-scratching.
“We’re kind of back to square one,” a shocked head coach Marvin Menzies admitted.
Senior forward Emmanuel Omogbo scored a game-high 22 points and grabbed 13 rebounds and senior guard Gian Clavell finished with 18 points to lead Colorado State (15-9, 7-4 Mountain West) which jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first two minutes and never trailed.
Senior forward Tyrell Green led UNLV (10-14, 3-8) with 11 points, the only Runnin’ Rebel to score in double figures. It was the fourth straight loss for UNLV which trailed by as many as 28 points in the second half and remains all alone in the Mountain West basement, a half-game behind noted basketball heavyweight Air Force (10-13, 3-7).
The Rebels trailed just 24-17 when Omogbo, Colorado State’s only real threat up front, went to the bench with his second foul with 6:27 left in the first half. But UNLV, which got as close as 26-24 on a Christian Jones dunk, failed to take advantage as Colorado State ended the half on a 5-0 run capped by a steal and dunk by guard Prentiss Nixon.
The Rams used a 10-0 run early in the second half to increase their lead to 45-27 and the cold-shooting Rebels never got closer than 13 points the rest of the way.
“I thought we were really good defensively the first half,” Menzies said. “In the second half, the dam broke. Sometimes when you don’t make shots on your end, you don’t defend with the same intensity, and that’s a maturity thing. That’s an experience thing. I expect more of these guys.”
Indeed, during the final eight minutes or so it looked like the Rebels were just going through the motions, not a good sign heading into Wednesday night’s showdown at second place Nevada (18-5, 7-3).
UNLV shot a dismal 30.5 percent from the field, including 4-of-24 (16.7 percent) from 3-point range. Point guard Jovan Mooring finished with just seven points and was 1-of-9 from 3-point range – many of them wide open looks — and didn’t score his first points until the 8:48 mark of the second half.
WHO STOOD OUT: Green, who was 4-of-8 from the field including 2-of-4 from 3-point range, had 11 points and four rebounds in 20 minutes of action and appeared to be the only Runnin Rebel with a pulse.
Omogbo finished 9-of-12 from the field, including 3-of-4 beyond the arc, while Clavell made several tough shots with a defender in his face and was 3-of-7 from 3-point range.
QUOTES TO NOTE: “Losing is just not good. You’ve got to really see how your guys respond to it. They had been fighting. We lost three in a row, but they kept fighting every game. Now this is a different kind of loss, so now you’re going to be tested.” – UNLV coach Marvin Menzies after his team’s fourth straight loss
“We were very patient and made them guard us a long time, and shot a good percentage because of it. And for a young team, with five young guys, to go on someone else’s court and not let the game break you down is quite a feat.” – Colorado State coach Larry Eustachy
UP NEXT: The Runnin’ Rebels travel to Reno on Wednesday night to face in-state rival Nevada and old head coach Dave Rice, now a Wolf Pack assistant, at 8 p.m. The game will be televised by CBS Sports Network.
NOTABLE: UNLV fell to 8-7 in home games this season. … The Runnin’ Rebels are just 5-12 in their last 17 games. … Mooring had a streak of six consecutive games of scoring in double figures snapped. … This was the 12th straight game that the Runnin’ Rebels shot less than 40 percent from the field. … UNLV’s guards were a combined 10-of-40 from the field and 2-of-20 from 3-point range. … Omogbo recorded his Mountain West leading 13th double-double of the season and 21st of his career. … The victory was just Colorado State’s fifth in 27 games against UNLV in Las Vegas.
Click on graphics below for final stats and Mountain West standings: