Colorado State defense dominates as Runnin’ Rebels are blown out
Colorado State may be a different team compared to the one that made the NCAA Tournament a year ago.
One thing is for certain, though: UNLV still can’t find a way to win in that building.
Khem Birch had 15 points and 11 rebounds on the night, but the Runnin’ Rebels (15-8, 6-4) couldn’t contain Colorado State’s Daniel Bejarno from 24 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists as the Rams comfortably won 75-57 at Moby Arena in Fort Collins, Colo. on Wednesday.
This is the third straight year Colorado State (13-10, 4-6) beat UNLV on its home floor, thanks to four players in double figures led by Bejarno’s near-triple-double on 6-of-12 shooting and made 9-of-10 from the free throw line.
Colorado State’s leading scorer J.J. Avila scored only 10 points on 3-of-7 shooting, but he didn’t have to do much for the Rams to snap their three-game losing streak.
As for the Runnin’ Rebels, Birch had the game-high 15 points, and point guard Deville Smith scored 13 points, but took 13 shots to get there. The rest of UNLV struggled heavily on offense, while Birch and Deville Smith shot a combined 11-of-24 from the floor.
Bryce Dejean-Jones was held to five points on 2-of-7 shooting, while Roscoe Smith was held to a season-low three points on 1-of-5 shooting, but grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.
UNLV’s only lead on the night against a struggling Rams team was at 4-2 with 17:44 left in the first half. From then on, Colorado State controlled the game and led by as much as 21 at one point.
Turnovers were relatively low for both teams. UNLV committed only nine, but the offense just couldn’t get going. The Runnin’ Rebels shot only 35 percent from the floor, and also took 22 3-point attempts, making only seven of them.
Colorado State shot an even 50 percent from the floor and 7-of-15 from 3-point range. It also helped that the Rams got to the line 26 times and made 18 of them, while UNLV only went to the free throw line 16 times.
Colorado State has been known for rebounding while being coached by Larry Eustache, and UNLV head coach Dave Rice echoed that after Tuesday’s practice. But the Runnin’ Rebels were only outrebounded 37-36 and UNLV had 17 offensive rebounds and scored 11 second-chance points.
It just ended up being a terribly, rough night offensively for UNLV, coming off a statement comeback win over a Boise State team that almost upset No. 5 San Diego State on Wednesday at home.
But UNLV will have a chance to rebound Saturday back at the Thomas & Mack Center when Wyoming comes to town for a 7 p.m. tipoff.