FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- Dorian Green was embarrassed after the first half and ecstatic after the second.
He scored 14 of his 16 points after halftime, leading Colorado State back from a 16-point deficit to upset No. 17 UNLV 66-59 on Wednesday night. The Rams rejoiced with the fans who stormed the court in celebration of their first unbeaten home conference slate in nearly half a century.
CSU trailed 41-26 at halftime and by 16 points in the opening minutes of the second half before rallying to burnish its NCAA credentials with a third straight home win over a ranked team.
"In the locker room we were just frustrated. We knew were playing awful. We were challenged and talked about what we had to do," Green said.
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Coach Tim Miles scribbled three things on the grease board:
"Attack the basket."
"Guard the ball."
They were 3 for 3.
"The second half was a complete 180 for us," Green said.
With it, the Rams (18-10, 7-6 Mountain West) capped a perfect home mark in league play with their 13th straight win at Moby Arena. The last time they went unbeaten at home in conference was in the 1960-61 season in the old Mountain States Conference.
The Rebels (24-7, 8-5) fell a game behind New Mexico and San Diego State in the Mountain West standings with their fourth straight road loss.
"We've certainly had some difficult losses this year and this is absolutely right at the top," Runnin' Rebels coach Dave Rice said. "I was so proud of the way we came out against a very good Colorado State team and had our way in the first half and then in the second half we ran out of gas."
They got 17 points from Oscar Bellfield, but he had just one basket in the second half, a 3-pointer that put UNLV ahead 47-31.
From that point, the Rams outscored the Rebels 35-12, thanks largely to Green slicing through the lane for buckets at the rim and the play of forward Pierce Hornung on the offensive glass. He pulled down five offensive boards in the second half and had two big stick-back baskets in the closing minutes to keep the Rebels at bay.
"I give Colorado State a ton of credit for how good they've been at home and their perseverance in this game," Rice said.
The Rebels' leading scorers, Mike Moser and Chace Stanback, who average a combined 28 points, managed just half that with Moser scoring five points, nine below his average, and Stanback getting nine.
The Rebels have suddenly lost their mojo on the road, losing at Wyoming, TCU, New Mexico and Colorado State in succession. With each loss, the home fans stormed the court. This time, Anthony Marshall took a seat on the courtside media table and took in the scene.
He said afterward he wanted to use it as motivation for a March comeback.
The Rebels raced to a 20-6 lead behind three 3s by Bellfield, including two straight to cap an 11-2 spurt.
It began to look like the Rebels were just toying with the Rams when Justin Hawkins scored on a layup after a spectacular steal and behind-the-back pass from near midcourt made it 22-10.
After the Rams cut their deficit to 26-22 with a 10-0 spurt sparked by Wes Eikmeier's five points, the Runnin' Rebels closed out the first half with a crowd-quieting 15-2 run to take a 41-26 lead.
UNLV's last nine points of the first half came from behind the arc, where Kindle Wallace, Bellfield and Stanback all swished 3-pointers from the right corner, just in front of the dejected Rams' bench.
Green, who averages 13.2 points, had just two points during a sub-par first half.
"I was mad at him at halftime and I let him know that," Miles said. "When I came out after halftime he walked right up to me and said,' Hey, let's try this, let's try that.' He rarely does that. That's when I felt like, OK, he's going to play better."
Bellfield's 3-pointer with Hornung all over him gave the Rebels a 47-31 lead early in the second half.
Then, astonishingly, it was all Rams.
They grabbed their first lead at 53-52 on Green's three-point play with 6:57 left.
The Rebels, who had won 16 of their previous 18 meetings with Colorado State, regained the lead at 54-53 on Moser's two free throws, but Green replied with a baseline jumper to put the Rams back on top for good.
"Give Colorado State credit. It's a lot harder to run when you're taking the ball out of bounds," Rice said. "They shot 48 percent in the second half."
And UNLV shot just 27 percent after halftime.
"That's not a good equation for winning a game on the road," Rice said.
|Dorian Green scores 16 points -- 14 in the second half -- and relishes the victory with the Colorado State fans. (AP)|
|UNLV #17 (24-7)||41||18||59|
|Colorado State (18-10) «||26||40||66|
|UNLV:O. Bellfield 17 Pts
UNLV:C. Stanback 6 Reb
UNLV:O. Bellfield 5 Ast
|COST:D. Green 16 Pts
COST:P. Hornung 8 Reb
COST:W. Eikmeier 3 Ast
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|PLAYERS OF THE GAME|
|O. Bellfield, G||37||6-11||0-0||4||5||1||17|
|A. Marshall, G||32||5-9||1-1||6||3||2||11|
|C. Stanback, G-F||30||4-12||0-0||6||1||2||9|
|J. Hawkins, G||23||2-6||0-0||2||2||0||4|
|B. Massamba, F-C||20||2-3||1-4||1||1||3||5|
|M. Moser, F||26||1-10||2-2||2||1||5||5|
|K. Wallace, G||11||1-2||0-0||2||0||0||3|
|Q. Thomas, F||11||0-1||0-0||3||0||1||0|
|C. Lopez, F||7||1-2||3-4||1||0||0||5|
|R. Smith, G||3||0-0||0-0||0||0||1||0|
|K. Mashour, G-F||Did Not Play|
|B. Cheaney, G||Did Not Play|
|B. Glenn, C||Did Not Play|
|W. Norman, G||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|
|Colorado State Rams|
|D. Green, G||37||6-11||4-4||1||3||1||16|
|W. Eikmeier, G||35||5-15||0-0||2||3||1||11|
|W. Bell, F||27||2-4||5-6||3||1||5||9|
|P. Hornung, F||22||3-7||0-0||8||0||1||6|
|K. Sabas, G||21||1-1||0-0||6||1||2||3|
|J. Carr, G||27||2-6||1-2||6||1||1||6|
|G. Smith, F||18||3-6||2-2||6||1||3||9|
|D. Smith, G||13||1-3||4-4||0||0||0||6|
|T. Williams, C||Did Not Play|
|C. Calcaterra, C||Did Not Play|
|C. Mann, G||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|