Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2009 | 2:10 a.m.
Ryan Greene and Rob Miech discuss UNLV's 68-66 overtime loss to San Diego State, a game which was marred by an abundance of foul calls and absent offensive flow. The guys talk about just what the Aztecs did to stymie UNLV's recently consistent offensive attack, plus just how hard it will be for the Rebels to bounce back in The Pit on Saturday night.
Beyond the Sun
- San Diego Union-Tribune: Aztecs' Spain reigns on overtime
Shooting slumps, whether they be individual or as a team, are nothing new for Lon Kruger's ball club this season.
And following Tuesday night's 68-66 overtime loss at the Thomas & Mack Center to San Diego State, it was only natural for eyes staring at the final box score to land on the "4-15" to the right of Wink Adams' name.
Of course, that also happens because he had the misfortune of recording the last of UNLV's 37 misses from the floor.
With three seconds left to play, after a D.J. Gay free throw put the Aztecs up by two, Adams got a clean look from 3-point range on the right wing. The attempt looked good, but wouldn't go down.
Go figure that one of UNLV's cleanest looks of the night from long range came in its most pressure-soaked situation.
"They're just long and athletic," Adams said. "We've got 6-foot wings, those guys have 6-4, 6-5 wings and are very athletic. We got the shots that we wanted. We got Joe (Darger) open, we got Kendall (Wallace) open, they just kind of struggled from the outside. We all did.
"Especially having the shot at the end. Billy White was kind of playing me off and I missed it. That's what I want to do. I want to take the big shot. I gotta hit 'em and that's what it came down to."
The Rebels (17-5 overall, 5-3 Mountain West) were 19-of-56 from the floor as a team. The only time this season that UNLV has shot a lower percentage than it did against SDSU was in a Nov. 28 loss to Cal (29.7).
No one was immune to the struggles. Tre'Von Willis went 1-for-8, Wallace was 1-for-4 and Darger missed a potential game-winner from the left corner at the end of regulation off the edge of the backboard.
Adams tried his hardest to execute what had been working for him of late, which was getting back to his patented dribble-drive attack. San Diego State (16-5, 6-2) defended it the same way several foes have, by sending waves of defenders at UNLV's leading scorer.
The Aztecs just had bigger ones -- notably 6-foot-6 wing Lorrenzo Wade, who hounded him much of the night. And combined with the fact that the kick-outs weren't producing points, it made Adams that much more ineffective.
"A lot of teams do that -- whenever I drive, there's two or three people behind that defender, going to the ball," he said. "That all comes down to other people hitting shots, and tonight we struggled. That was hurting us."
Had time permitted, Adams may have been able to help erase those struggles at the end of overtime by driving to the rack and potentially drawing a foul call.
After all, that approach seemed to be working for just about everyone else on the floor.
In the second half, tight, touchy calls became quite the trend, and by game's end, 44 personal fouls had been called and 59 free throws had been attempted.
Though for all of the ugliness and all of the missed shots, Adams took the same approach in brushing this one off as he did a handful of others earlier in the season while struggling to find a rhythm -- by spinning it into a positive.
Adams looked at it as a good thing that the Rebels were involved in a slowed-down slugfest such as this, considering their next game is Saturday on the road against New Mexico, which improved to 5-3 in the league with a home victory over Wyoming on Tuesday.
UNLV's 60-58 home triumph over the Lobos on Jan. 3 had a similar feel to Tuesday's game.
That said, the Rebels might now have to prepare for more of the same.
"I think it's good to play this (type of) game," Adams said of Tuesday's contest. "Tonight, we played really physical. I was really impressed with how my team battled down low. Our defense was definitely there."