LAS VEGAS -- UNLV (No. 20 ESPN/USA Today, No. 21 AP) was disappointed after road losses to TCU and New Mexico last week sent it tumbling in the polls and dropped it two games behind the Lobos in the Mountain West Conference.
But strong defense and better shooting gave the Rebels a 75-58 victory over Boise State on Wednesday night, putting them within one game of first place."There were a lot of people disappointed here in town," UNLV coach Dave Rice said. "We have no time for negativity."Chace Stanback scored 19 points and reserve Justin Hawkins added 13 for UNLV (23-6, 7-4), which ended the Broncos' three-game winning streak.UNLV is undefeated in 14 games at home this season, with two of its three remaining games to be played in Las Vegas.It was Stanback's best scoring performance since a 21-point game against TCU in mid-January and his best shooting since New Year's Eve at Hawaii. He had 11 points in the first half, including eight straight to give the Rebels an eight-point lead 6 minutes into the game."I was fortunate to knock down some shots," Stanback said. "I wanted to have a great game for my teammates. I haven't done that [lately]."UNLV took an 11-point lead at halftime and pulled away on consecutive 3-pointers from Hawkins roughly 8 minutes into the second half.The Rebels took a 66-43 lead when Quintrell Thomas dunked a missed layup by Hawkins with just more than 8 minutes left in the game.The Rebels shot 49.1 percent (27-of-55) after shooting 31 percent in their previous game, a 20-point loss at New Mexico last week. The Rebels shot 61.5 percent in the first half Wednesday night, making two more field goals in the half than they did during the entire game against the Lobos.Rice said his team got back some of the swagger it had lost on the road."We played like we needed to play on the defensive end," Rice said. "Staying together was a key for us. We bounced back."Anthony Drmic and Thomas Bropleh each had nine points for the Broncos (13-13, 3-8).Boise State shot just 35.7 percent, at times clearly stifled by UNLV's defense. The Broncos had a shot-clock violation on their second possession and, twice over the next 5 minutes, waited until the shot clock had 1 second left before throwing up desperate shots that didn't fall."With the three wins, we made a lot of progress. We didn't shoot the ball well tonight," Boise State coach Leon Rice said. "We knew we would catch them playing their best."Boise State had 14 turnovers and eight assists."We were getting out and dictating what they offensively could do," said Anthony Marshall, who had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, his fourth this season.Marshall added five of UNLV's 19 assists. The Rebels were second in the NCAA heading into the game with 18.4 assists per game.