After being locked in the middle of the Mountain West Conference standings with San Diego State, Colorado State and Boise State for the majority of the 2012-13 season, UNLV can finally sit back and rest.
With a 68-64 victory over the Broncos Tuesday, the Rebels (23-7, 10-5 MWC) have moved into second-place in the Mountain West and have secured a top three seed in the Mountain West Conference Tournament.
The Rebels have long been known for their excellence on the basketball court, but this season appeared to be much more challenging for UNLV. The emergence of Boise State, partnered with the continued dominance of New Mexico and Colorado State, left the Mountain West incredibly difficult to contend in.
Heroic efforts from Anthony Marshall and Bryce Dejean-Jones allowed UNLV to erase a 10-point deficit late in the second half and gain a much needed fifth straight win. Though both guards added 16 points in the backcourt, Marshall’s ability to completely take over the second half shows why the Rebels are still a serious force in the conference.
In order to take down Mountain West No. 1 New Mexico, the Rebels will have to put together a flawless combination of three-point shooting and paint dominance by freshman Anthony Bennett. UNLV used Bennett in a limited role against the Broncos, though the forward logged 11 points in 27 minutes of play.
No team will be entering the Mountain West Conference Tournament hotter than UNLV because Rebels have been able to defeat New Mexico, Colorado State, San Diego State and Boise State in an eight-game span. The Rebels went 7-1 in that span with their only loss coming on the road in a confusing game against Air Force.