Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The incredible shrinking team: Rebels lose 66-59 to CSU

How to lose a basketball game -- flatline

The Rebels have been a lackluster road team in the conference schedule. Besides having to go to overtime twice to gain wins against lower tier teams, there was a loss to TCU where the Rebels coughed up an 18 point lead in the second half. This game was nearly as bad, giving up a 15 point half time lead and losing by 7 points.

It wasn’t all bad, early on the Rebels were a solid, fluid, scoring machine. Without Mike Moser in the lineup the Rebels clicked early and thoroughly dominated the Rams. In place of Moser (who was sitting as a disciplinary measure due to being late to study hall), Justin Hawkins was extremely active with his hands and created a bunch of turnovers. Chace Stanback’s 3 pointer was on target, as was Oscar Bellfield’s. Because of UNLV’s 7 first half three pointers, points off of turnovers, great defense, and CSU’s bad luck, the Rebels had a 41-26 lead. I thought, man we’re going to win this game, I’ve not seen the Rebels play this consistently in a while.

It appears that the basket that CSU started with and the Rebels finished with was cursed, as no team shot well on it. All it took for the Rams to come into the second half was average scoring – nothing superhuman. The Rebels scoring became non-existant. Players who had delivered for the Rebels, such as Chace Stanback and Oscar Bellfield hit far fewer shots. The Rebels, who only had 2 first half turnovers, gave away the ball at an embarrassing rate in the second half with 8 team turnovers. Leading the giveaway fest was Anthony Marshall, with 4 turnovers, but also Mike Moser with 2.

Not even a tourniquet could stop the points hemorrhaging that the Rebels allowed, and with 6:57 left in the game the Rams had tied it. Besides not shooting well and turning the ball over, the Rebels frequent misses were rarely rebounded for second chance points. Colorado State limited the Rebels to 5 second chance points, while overachieving with 13 in the second half. The Rebels were outrebounded in the second half 12-18. While Coach Rice has faith in his guys, the major rebounding guy is Mike Moser, and he failed produce in a way that makes you scratch your head. Two rebounds in 26 minutes of play, to go with only 5 points reignites the inquiry – did Mike Moser reinjure his wrist? Furthermore, it became apparent sometime when Moser was going 1-10 from the field that Hawkins would have been the better choice – especially for his defense and steals. Hawkins had 3 steals in the game.

In a season of many chances to capture and maintain the MWC regular season title, the Rebels have now blown too many to realistically get it. Too many teams have stormed the court at our expense. We play better as the hunters, not the hunted. And its hard to remember a time when both Chace Stanback and Mike Moser both played up to their abilities at the same time. Many say a successful post-season run is about getting hot at the right time – hopefully the Rebels are saving that right time for just down the road. In all likelihood Wyoming will be a tall order in our house as well, hopefully we can take care of business and prepare for our tournament – which is far later than it should be.

No Reign Men this game, it was too big of a disappointment. I will give props to Anthony Marshall not only for offense, but the two amazing blocks he had. Also to Mike Moser for his steal-behind the back pass. I’ve never seen anything like that, degree of difficulty has got to be through-the-roof. Although successful and awesome to watch, I hope I never see him attempt that again.

Have faith Rebel faithful, we are finally done with true road games and better times may be upon us. 

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