Last-second shot gives UNLV 61-59 win over Colorado State

Steve Guiremand, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

LAS VEGAS -- UNLV's Anthony Marshall had never hit a game-winning shot in his 127 previous college games. But with his team out of timeouts and the scored tied Wednesday, the senior guard knew what he had to do.
Marshall drove off a ball screen from center Khem Birch at the top of the key, went to his right, pulled up and hit a 16-footer with nine seconds remaining to give the Rebels a 61-59 Mountain West victory over No. 22 Colorado State at Thomas & Mack Center.
Marshall was just 2-of-8 from the floor, including 1-of-7 from 3-point range, before his game-winner.
"I just tried to stick with it," said Marshall, who finished with 11 points and five rebounds. "It was a tough night on offense for me -- careless turnovers and missing easy shots -- but my coaching staff and teammates had all the faith in the world in me to keep shooting whenever I got a good look. And that's what I did.
"It felt pretty good. It's the first time that I can remember that I hit a shot like that. It was an important game for us and we got a win. ... I'm more proud of the fact that we got back and got a defensive stop."
After Marshall's jumper, Colorado State coach Larry Eustachy eschewed a timeout and immediately went on the offensive. The strategy seemed to work as guard Wes Eikmeier found sophomore guard Daniel Bejarano wide open to the right of the key. But Bejarano's potential game-winning 3-pointer hit the back of the rim and bounced out as the buzzer sounded.
"I was disappointed with our first half, but I thought our guys showed what they're made of with their second-half play," Eustachy said of the Rams, who trailed by as many as 13 points in the first half. "We missed some key plays late, but they're a good team and we'll learn from it."
Colorado State (21-5, 8-3) fell a game behind Mountain West leader New Mexico (22-4, 9-2). But the Rams get a chance to try to regain a share of first place when they host the Lobos at Moby Arena on Saturday afternoon.
Guards Bryce Dejean-Jones and Katin Reinhardt each scored 15 points to lead UNLV (20-7, 7-5), which became the first team this season to outrebound the Rams. Center Khem Birch scored just four points but made his presence felt on the defensive end with six blocks and six rebounds.
Senior center Colton Iverson led Colorado State with 16 points and 10 rebounds and Bejarano (12) and Eikmeier (10) also finished in double figures in points.
UNLV finished with a 38-31 rebounding edge and a 14-5 advantage in points in the paint. The Rebels moved into a tie for third place with San Diego State in the Mountain West with their 13th straight victory at the Thomas & Mack Center.
UNLV, which was outmuscled in the paint by the Rams during a 66-61 loss in the first meeting on Jan. 19 in Fort Collins, dominated the glass while taking a 32-21 halftime lead. The Rebels finished with a 20-11 edge on the boards and Birch had four of the team's six blocks as the Rams' powerful frontcourt duo of Iverson and Pierce Hornung combined for just seven points and seven rebounds.
The Rebels, who came in shooting just 31 percent from 3-point range, connected on 6 of 14 attempts from beyond the arc with Dejean-Jones leading the way. Dejean-Jones finished the half with 13 points, including 3-of-5 treys, while Reinhardt added 10 points, including a pair of 3-pointers.
Iverson had five points to lead the Rams, who were 1-of-9 from 3-point range and shot 30.8 percent from the floor overall.
The Rams, however, started the second half with a 19-8 run to tie it on a 3-pointer by Dorian Green with 13:15 remaining and Dejean-Jones on the bench after picking up his fourth foul.
But the Rebels got a big spark from freshman swingman Savon Goodman, who scored four points during a 9-2 run to put UNLV back in front, 49-42.
Colorado State chipped away and tied it 53-53 on a short jumper in the key by Iverson with 4:12 left and then regained the lead a short time later on a tip-in by Bejarano.
The game then seesawed back and forth down the stretch until Marshall pulled up at the right elbow of the free throw line and hit his game-winner over Green.
GAME NOTES: Colorado State came into the game leading the nation in rebounding margin (plus-13.8). ... Iverson registered his 11th double-double of the season. ... UNLV's last home loss came against Oregon, 83-79, on Nov. 23.

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