Frozen shooting and ice-cold play followed the men’s basketball team to the deserts around Las Vegas Saturday, as the Rams saw their 11th straight game slip into the hands of the Runnin’ Rebels.
CSU (6-17, 0-9 MWC) managed just 16 points in the first half on their way to a 68-51 final score. UNLV (18-5, 7-2 MWC) never let its lead dip below 15 after the first half.
With the victory, UNLV head coach Lon Kruger now has 400 career wins. In 22 seasons, coach Kruger has a 400-272 record.
“Anytime you win, it feels great,” Kruger said after the game. “A lot of people share in this. We’ve had good teams. We like what this team is doing.”
As far as what the Rams are doing, an 0-9 record in the conference is a long way from the goals at the start of the season. Coach Tim Miles said after the game that despite the record, the team is progressing.
“We weren’t losing ground, the kids didn’t quit,” Miles said. “I felt we were going in the right direction,”
Senior center Stuart Creason made his return Saturday, having missed every conference game this season because of a stress fracture in his foot. In 16 minutes he had an impressive 13 points, five rebounds and one block.
“It felt really good to be back out there,” Creason said. “It is just going to take some work and some time to get back to where I was.”
Coach Miles talked about the versatility that Creason brings to the offense, but reiterated that it will take time before he can carry a full load for the team.
“It is a little better with Stu in the game. With Stu we feel we can run it and we did,” Miles said. “We kept saying as a staff, ‘How many minutes has Stu got?’. When we didn’t have him in the game it was hard for us. He really is stable in the middle for us.”
Once again, junior guard Marcus Walker led the Rams on the scoreboard, picking up 24 points in 36 minutes. He also led the team in rebounds, with seven, and assists, with two.
As a team, the Rams finished with 39 rebounds –11 offensive — to the Rebels’ 42 — 16 offensive. CSU shot 32.7 percent from the field and an even 25 percent from 3. They finished the game with 16 turnovers, 10 of which came in the first half.
The Rams will be back at home this week, hosting Brigham Young on Wednesday. The game is set for a 7 p.m. tip off in Moby Arena.
Basketball beat reporter Nick Hubel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.