LAS VEGAS — The last last three times Cal State Fullerton and Nevada Las Vegas have met on a basketball court, the underdog Titans won once and lost twice in overtime.
Monday night, before 14,200 at the Thomas and Mack Center, Fullerton didn't put up much of a fight, with the exception of a brief sparring session between Fullerton's Gary Moeller and UNLV's Eldridge Hudson that had to be ruled a draw since nobody managed to connect.
The Rebels knocked out the Titans early, running away with an 83-69 Pacific Coast Athletic Assn. win. It was the Rebels' 12th straight victory and improved their overall record to 13-2 and their conference mark to 6-0. Fullerton is 7-8 and 3-3.
Moeller and the Rebels' Richard Robinson were ejected after Moeller gave Robinson a little push and Robinson retaliated with a big shove. Hudson ran over and yelled at Moeller while official Mark Reischling was sandwiched between them.
Reischling finally got an arm free to indicate he was ejecting Moeller and when he turned to inform the official scorer, Hudson and Moeller took a couple of half-hearted swings. Las Vegas assistant coach Tim Grgurich, with the help of a fan, managed to usher Hudson toward the sidelines while Moeller walked back to the Fullerton bench laughing.
It was the only thing the Titans had to laugh about. Fullerton's passing did border on the comical at times and seemed to amuse the Rebels, who had numerous opportunities to show off their dunking skills thanks to a slew of errant passes turned into Las Vegas breakaways.
Las Vegas Coach Jerry Tarkanian, who admitted he was worried about his players attitude after Saturday's emotional two-point win over Maryland, was very pleased with what he saw.
"I was afraid we might have let down after the Maryland game, but we played very hard," he said. "The Maryland game was great for the program and great for the community, but this game was more important because it was a conference game.
"We didn't shoot too well in the first half, but we played good defense all night."
Every Rebel got a chance to play and four of them scored in double figures led by Richie Adams, who had 20 points and 12 rebounds. Fullerton's Tony Neal had an even better night--25 points and 17 rebounds--but it wasn't nearly enough to overcome the talent-laden Rebels.
"They dominated every facet of the game," Fullerton Coach George McQuarn said. "I'll tell you, this just reaffirms in my mind that UNLV is so much better than any other team in the conference.
"Tarkanian's only problem is getting his players up for each opponent. You're talking superior athletes at every position.
Fullerton had 13 first-half turnovers and about half of those were bad passes that ended up being jammed through the hoop at the other end of the floor.