UNLV hoops notebook: Off the mark

Aztecs Spear Rebels

After winning four straight, the Rebels fall to San Diego State in overtime 68-66 Tuesday night at the Thomas & Mack. With the win the Aztecs take over sole possession of first place in the Mountain West Conference standings.

UNLV vs. San Diego State

The Rebels take on the Aztecs in the Thomas and Mack Center. San Diego St. beat UNLV in overtime, 68-66. Launch slideshow »

UNLV Fan Photos

Photos of fans from Tuesday's game against San Diego State Launch slideshow »
The Rebel Room

SDSU POSTGAME: Another forgettable mess

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

Tre’Von Willis launched a mid-range air ball after curling around a screen. DeShawn Mitchell missed everything on a 4-foot attempt. Oscar Bellfield erred on a layup.

René Rougeau missed that late layup that could have won the game. Joe Darger hit the side of the backboard on his last-second 3-point shot.

Tuesday night’s 68-66 overtime defeat to San Diego State was the second-worst shooting performance of the season for the Rebels, and there were many culprits.

UNLV connected on only 33.9 percent of its attempts. The only time it shot worse this season was a 29.7 percent effort in a 73-55 defeat to California.

“We defended as hard as we did all season and we came up big at the end,” said SDSU senior guard Richie Williams. “We just were making stops, creating turnovers and getting easy baskets.”

The Rebels had five similar games last season and they won only one, a 3-point decision at Colorado State.

Worse, one of those came at New Mexico, where UNLV plays Saturday night.

UNLV finished its regular season a year ago by connecting on only 33.3 percent of its attempts in that 59-45 defeat to the Lobos at The Pit.

Hill under observation

After the game, UNLV assistant coach Lew Hill was wheeled from the Thomas & Mack Center in a stretcher with trainer Dave Tomchek, and other personnel, at his side.

Hill, 43, was conscious and being fed oxygen. He was taken to Sunrise Hospital.

Several UNLV players said they did not know what happened and first heard of how Hill left the arena from a reporter.

Early Wednesday morning, a UNLV official said Hill would spend the night in the hospital for observation and further testing.

Hill has been with Rebels coach Lon Kruger for all of his five seasons in Las Vegas. Previously, Hill had been at Texas A&M, East Carolina, Southeast Missouri State and South Alabama.

He is a native of Mount Vernon, N.Y.

Not to plan

He’ll take tough shots, Kruger told his players of SDSU senior forward Lorrenzo Wade at Sunday’s practice. “Make him take tough shots.”

Wade only went 3-for-16 from the field Tuesday night, but he was one of five Aztecs who went to the line at least four times. Wade hit six of his eight free-throw attempts.

“Be physical,” Hill told the Rebels on Monday. “They don’t want to be touched.”

It was a physical game both ways, and the Aztecs didn’t appear to back down at any point.

In addition, the Dave Hall-led crew of officials called 44 fouls, resulting in a game filled with 59 free throws.

The 59 attempts at the line were a high for a UNLV game this season. And the only other time more than 44 fouls were called in a Rebels game was Nov. 24, when 51 were whistled at Texas-El Paso.

Yes, Hall and sidekick Tom O’Neill did that one, too.

None of the players Tuesday night, though, cared to talk about the lack of flow to a game that had so many stops.

“We have to play through that,” said Rougeau. “ … we can’t worry about the refs at all.”

Chipping in

UNLV senior forward Mo Rutledge played a key role in keeping the Rebels close to the Aztecs.

Bellfield sank a free throw to get UNLV within 48-46, then he missed one. Rutledge nabbed the rebound, but Bellfield turned it over by traveling.

A minute later, Rutledge fired up the crowd with a 3-pointer from the left side to cut the Rebels’ deficit to 50-49.

“They were a lot bigger than us,” Rutledge said. “We had (Rougeau) at the ‘five,’ trying to use a smaller lineup to be quicker than them. We just weren’t fortunate to come away with the win.”

Free throws

Winks Adams led the Rebels with 16 points, pumping his career total to 1,723. He’s eighth on the school scoring chart and Dalron Johnson, with 1,728, is seventh … after a scintillating stretch in which he canned 14 of 24 3-point attempts, sophomore guard Kendall Wallace went 0-for-2 against SDSU … SDSU sophomore forward Billy White spotted Ed O’Bannon in the stands before the game, shook his hand and exchanged small talk. O’Bannon, who led UCLA to a national title in 1995 and lives in Henderson, tutored White when he was at Green Valley High … UNLV entered the game shooting free throws at 67.2 percent, eighth in the Mountain West. It went 21-for-31 (67.7 percent) against the Aztecs. “I missed two,” said Rougeau, who was 3-for-5. “We have to get into the gym more on our own time.”

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  1. This loss sucks. This team is so inconsistant it kills me.

  2. Can't win em all rphy. But kills you? I think perspective is a priceless commodity right now, especially with coach Hill leaving the arena in a stretcher. He's doing fine and it appears he'll leave the hospital by tomorrow at the latest, but if that's not perspective ... this is just basketball. And it's early February. So what if they lose even a few more times.
    Winning three in a row in early March in the conference tourney still punches their NCAA ticket, then, it's all about seeds and draws, and a little bit of luck.
    Just get into the tournament, then see what happens. The top of Mt Everest fall to the bottom of the Marianas Trench, and back, with each victory and loss and victory, wears a guy out, no?

  3. Wears me out no doubt. Makes ya want to step back a bit and take a deep breath from UNLV. Too emotionally invested I am. That loss is hard to swallow, losing to a team 'I' don't think we should have lost to. Credit SDSU if you want but the first two paragraphs of this article say it all in how I think we bungled the end of the game after recovering from a bad offensive start. See, I told ya Rob, breath in.....breath out.

    Hope you're feeling better Coach Hill, get better soon.