Senior nails clutch jump shot to lift Runnin’ Rebels over Colorado State Wednesday
With the game on the line Wednesday, the senior guard got what he wanted: a high-ball screen at the top of the key, which he converted into the biggest shot of his career.
Marshall struggled offensively throughout the game, shooting 3-of-9, but his game-winning basket with nine seconds to go gave the Runnin’ Rebels (20-7, 7-5) a 61-59 victory over No. 22 Colorado State (21-5, 8-3) at the Thomas & Mack Center.
“I just tried to stick with it,” Marshall said. “It was a tough night offensively for me. The coaching staff and my teammates had all the faith in me. As soon as it left my hands, I knew it was good.”
Marshall finished with 11 points, but the Colorado State defense made him earn every point. The Rams defense sealed off the paint and prevented Marshall from driving the lane — something Marshall knew they would try to do in the waning moments.
“Throughout the course of the game, they made me shoot jump shots,” Marshall said. “I had a feeling they were going to make me pull up. Khem [Birch] gave me a good pick and I got enough space to knock it down.”
Going into this game, Rice said that UNLV had to improve dramatically in the rebounding category in order to have a chance against the size of Colorado State.
The Runnin’ Rebels outrebounded the Rams 38-31, marking the first time this year that a team had more rebounds than Colorado State.
“Our main goal, obviously, was to try and win the game, but the second goal was to try and win the rebounding game,” Rice said. “And to outrebound a team like that 38-31 speaks to our persistence. I could not be prouder of our guys.”
Although he spent the majority of the second half in foul trouble, Birch’s defense at the end of the game was critical to Marshall’s late game heroics.
Birch’s defense on Colton Iverson’s contested shot on the possession prior to Marshall’s game-winner was the key play for UNLV down the stretch.
“Khem Birch did a terrific job on defense on that last play,” Rice said.
Now the Runnin’ Rebels will have to put these last two home wins in the back of their minds as they hit the road on Saturday for a rematch with Wyoming, this time in Laramie, Wyo.
“We understand for the next few days, we have to deal with the fact that we’ve had a hard time on the road,” Rice said. “We’re not running away from that.”