GAME NOTES: A dominant force at home this season, the UNLV Runnin' Rebels prepare for the arrival of the Boise State Broncos to the Thomas & Mack Center for a Mountain West Conference showdown on Tuesday night.
The Runnin' Rebels are back in Sin City where they are an impressive 16-1 this season, the only loss coming against Oregon (83-79) in the third game of the season as part of the Global Sports Classic. Over the weekend, UNLV was on the road as it completed the season sweep of in-state rival Nevada, 80-63, marking the team's fourth straight win as it moved to 9-5 in conference play, which means the team is tied with Colorado State for second place in the league.
As for the Broncos, currently tied with San Diego State for fourth place in the standings at 8-6, they too have won four straight thanks to a 78-65 romp over the Rams on Saturday evening. Like the Rebels, BSU is also quite successful at home these days (13-1), but the road has been a different story (5-7) and that has more relevance for this particular outing.
Boise State won the first meeting of the season back in early February by a score of 77-72 at Taco Bell Arena, which means the Rebels now own a 4-2 advantage in the all-time series.
Derrick Marks exploded for a career-high 38 points on Saturday, shooting 13- of-18 from the floor against Colorado State, including 4-of-7 beyond the arc, as he guided the Broncos to the double-digit home win. Anthony Drmic accounted for another 15 points as Boise State connected on 53.7 percent from the field, including 9-of-19 beyond the arc.
With his impressive effort over the weekend, Marks is now up to 16.5 ppg on the campaign which is just fractions of a point behind Drmic (16.9 ppg). Between the two there is also a combined 175 of the unit's 373 assists as well, which means they are just as comfortable giving up the ball as they are shooting it when they have the opportunity. Throw Jeff Elorriaga (10.4 ppg) into the mix, with his 45.5 percent accuracy beyond the arc, and the Broncos are quite solid out on the perimeter these days.
Dealing with an injury that had him coming off the bench on Saturday, Anthony Bennett finished with just a single point, but seven rebounds, in 17 minutes in the win against Nevada in Reno. With Bennett playing a reserve role, that pushed Mike Moser back into the starting lineup and resulted in him posting a team-best 20 points and eight rebounds, followed by Bryce Dejean-Jones with 17 points, Katin Reinhardt 14, Anthony Marshall 11 points and Khem Birch with 10 points, six boards and seven blocked shots.
Bennett may be the team's leading scorer and rebounder with 16.4 points and 8.3 boards per contest, but finally seeing signs of life from Moser (7.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg) was also crucial because it means he hasn't been completely lost for the season. One of the top performers in the MWC last season, Moser had the potential to put up a double-double every time he stepped out on the floor, but an injury this year relegated him to coming off the bench and limiting his production as a result.
UNLV's opponents have been shooting just 28.6 percent from 3-point range this season, something that will be a focal point on Tuesday night for a Boise State squad that shoots very well from the perimeter.
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