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February 21, 2013WE > I - Colorado State is one of those teams that the sum is much greater than the parts. The Rams play together and are a veteran team that doesn't panic when things don't go their way.
For UNLV to get a victory on Wednesday, it needed to work as a cohesive unit and play as a unit rather than individuals. That's exactly what happened and was the reason for the, 61-59, over the battle tested Rams.
The Runnin' Rebels got valuable contributions from every member of their rotation. Whether it was Bryce Dejean-Jones early output on offense or Justin Hawkins feisty defense on Dorian Green, everyone played a part in this victory.
It was the first time this season that the Rebels truly played as one, which is something that shouldn't be lost on the players.
It took a total team effort to limit the Rams 39% shooting from the field and 17% from beyond the arc. It took a total team effort to become the first opponent this season to out-rebound CSU. It took a total team effort to manage serious foul trouble and never relinquish a lead despite having their backs against the wall.
Rebel players can look in the mirror after this win and be proud with the growth they've made as a team over the last two weeks. This is a major step forward heading into the final couple weeks of the regular season.
GAME WINNER - Anthony Marshall was having one of his worst offensive performances of the season. It had gotten so bad that head coach Dave Rice had taken him off the floor twice during the second half to allow freshman Katin Reinhardt to run the team.
The normally steady Marshall was 1-of-7 from behind the 3-point line and 2-of-8 from the field with four turnovers. It was an all-around rough night for the UNLV senior.
But with the game on the line, Marshall's short memory came in handy and he delivered one of the most important shots of the season, a 15-footer from the top of the key that hit nothing but net, giving the Rebels their two point advantage.
Despite the struggles throughout the night, there was no one more prepared and ready to take the final shot than Marshall. He said afterward that it was his first game-winner as a Rebel. What a great time for a first.
Nobody wants to win anymore on the UNLV roster than Marshall. It was nice to see him get the opportunity to do something special and not waste it.
It took four years but Marshall finally delivered on something that he's worked so hard to be ready for.
GOODMAN CRACKS ROTATION - Savon Goodman has been relegated to mop-up duty for much of the season, which means he hasn't played a whole lot since the Rebels are usually in tight games during Mountain West action.
After the abysmal effort by the Rebels at Air Force, Goodman has found his way into the rotation as a guy that gives a spark to UNLV's effort. He hasn't disappointed.
Goodman plays with the fire and intensity that you can't teach as a coach. Rice knew he had a good one but was hesitant to put Goodman in a position where he could lose his confidence. At some point, though, Rice had no choice. He needed to give Goodman the shot he's worked so hard in practice for.
Last night, Goodman showed how valuable he could be. He can guard up to four positions on defense, rebounds with ferocity, and has the ability to slash to the cup and score or get to the free throw line.
The best part about Goodman is how much his teammates seem to enjoy playing alongside of him. He doesn't need the ball in his hands to be effective. He just needs to be on the floor.
When the Rebels head out on the road for their final two travel dates of the season against Wyoming and UNR, Goodman should be one of the first off the bench. He won't allow his teammates to play half-hearted. He brings the good out in everyone.
Welcome to the big time, Goodman. You've earned it.