Saturday, Feb. 7, 2009 | 7:21 p.m.
Ryan Greene, Rob Miech and Ron Kantowski reflect on their experiences on Saturday night at The Pit, where UNLV fell to New Mexico in overtime, 73-69. The guys talk about the infamous 'ramp,' break down the effect of René Rougeau's technical foul and whether the Rebels' season now again comes down to three games in March.
Beyond the Sun
- Mercury News: Lobos beat Rebels in overtime
Final, New Mexico wins 73-69
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- For the second time in five days, UNLV can only come away saying it had its chances.
The Rebels fell to New Mexico on Saturday night at The Pit in overtime, 73-69, as a Tony Danridge runner off the glass with 5.4 seconds to play was the ultimate decider. Danridge scored a game-high 26 points, with 24 of them coming after halftime.
The loss improved New Mexico to 15-9 overall and 6-3 in the Mountain West, while UNLV squandered a six-point halftime lead to fall to 17-6 and 5-4, respectively.
New Mexico took an emotional edge late in regulation, after a René Rougeau technical foul sent him out of the game with five fouls, and pushed New Mexico ahead after it converted four free throws.
UNLV had two chances in the final 12 seconds to win it in regulation, but Wink Adams and Mo Rutledge both missed looks. Adams missed a 3-pointer before Danridge hit his game-winner, and Tre'Von Willis stepped out of bounds with the ball while trying to push up the floor for the potential game-tying or game-winning score.
Adams led the Rebels with 18 points, while Willis scored 13. Rougeau had 12 points and 13 rebounds before his critical technical whistle, which came from arguing a personal foul he was charged with while going for an offensive rebound.
The Rebels are back in action on Tuesday for the first of two home games in the next week. They'll host TCU at 7 p.m., followed by Colorado State on Saturday night at 7 p.m.
For full postgame coverage, including stories, photos, stats, video and The Rebel Room: Postgame Edition, stay tuned to www.lasvegassun.com/rebels.
End of regulation, game tied 59-59
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Another day, another overtime game. The Rebels are heading to extra minutes for the second time this week, tied with New Mexico, 59-59, at The Pit.
An Oscar Bellfield 3-pointer tied it up, 56-56, to help overshadow four New Mexico free throws resulting from the combination of a personal and technical foul against René Rougeau, which sent the Rebels senior packing with five fouls.
Wink Adams later would hit one of two free throws to tie the game again, 57-57, and Tre'Von Willis followed his own miss after hunting down the offensive board to put UNLV up by two again. Tony Danridge tied it yet again with an inside jumper, and a pair of late UNLV looks went off the iron -- one by Wink Adams, one by Mo Rutledge.
Wonder what the scenario would be right now without that four-point swing stemming from Rougeau's technical?
3:31, second half, game tied 56-56
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Well, New Mexico's second major push of the second half brought out the worst in René Rougeau, who earned a technical foul after being called for a personal while going for an offensive board. The two fouls sent him packing for the day with five fouls, and gave New Mexico, already in the bonus, four free throws.
Chad Toppert and Tony Danridge each hit a pair, but Oscar Bellfield came back with his first 3-pointer of the day in a huge possession, tying things up, 56-56, with 3:31 to play in The Pit.
Rougeau fouling out is huge. With Darris Santee and Brice Massamba combining for 2 minutes so far, he was holding down the paint, with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
We knew this one would come down to free throws. Now we'll truly see it, with both teams in the bonus. UNLV is 12-of-16 at the line, UNM is 17-of-19.
10:57, second half, UNLV leads 49-43
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Boy, I sure hope Mama Wink is watching this one right now back in Houston.
Adams had his moments against Arizona and BYU this year, but this is completely different.
After Tony Danridge's 11 straight points, Adams responded with arguably his best stretch of the season to this point, personally silencing a fuming crowd of 17,000-plus with 11 points of his own on 4-of-5 shooting, with the most recent bucket being a 3-pointer from straight on.
The Rebels have successfully withstood New Mexico's first push. Lets see if there's another in the final 10-plus minutes.
15:51, second half, New Mexico leads 37-35
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Remember that line about Chad Toppert being the only Lobo with more than one field goal at the half? Well, strike that.
Tony Danridge, who made the only shot he attempted in 16 minutes in the first half, has scored 11 of UNM's 14 second half points on 5-of-5 shooting, and the Lobos have grabbed a lead on the Rebels at 37-35.
He's scored driving hard, he's scored hitting mid-range jumpers. Meanwhile, it's lifted the New Mexico defense, as UNLV's only real means of production so far this half is the free throw line. The Rebels are 1-of-5 so far this half from the floor, and no shot has looked comfortable.
Halftime, UNLV leads 32-26
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- With one half in the books, UNLV has soundly neutralized what is known as one of the toughest road atmospheres in all of college hoops.
After the tip, the crowd at The Pit really only exploded once, and that was for a Phillip McDonld open court slam off of UNLV's first turnover of the game.
The Rebels had a chance to bump their lead a bit just before the half, but missed a pair of opportunities.
As for the ramp test, both teams took a spirited job up the tunnel, with UNLV's René Rougeau and New Mexico's Daniel Faris leading the way. Rougeau sensed it, and cut Faris off, sprinting ahead to be the first one up the tunnel.
That pretty much sums up the first half -- New Mexico's bigger and more strapping, but UNLV's grit has it ahead by a smidge.
Some numbers from the game's first 20 minutes ...
-Speaking of Rougeau, he is one rebound away from a double-double, with 10 points and 9 rebounds in 18 minutes. He also has two blocked shots.
-Tre'Von Willis has 10 points, including a pair of huge early 3-pointers. As a team, though, UNLV is just 3-of-10 from the floor.
-New Mexico is only 9-of-28 from the floor and 0-for-6 from long range.
-Darris Santee played 2 minutes, and Brice Massamba has yet to get off the bench. This team is just better small. They're getting tapped and deflected rebounds, and have a 20-19 edge in that category at the half.
-Only one Lobo -- Chad Toppert -- has more than one field goal. Daniel Farris is just 1-of-6 from the floor after scoring 19 points in the season's first meeting.
-Attendance tonight is 17,407, which is the largest crowd here since UNLV's visit a year ago.
-New Mexico is 2-3 this season when trailing at half.
3:34, first half, UNLV leads 29-2
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- New Mexico is just 9-of-25 from the floor so far, and while UNLV isn't beating down the door at 11-of-25, the Rebels are making their close looks. That's more than Miech's pick to click -- Daniel Faris -- can claim. On Daniel Faris Poster Night at The Pit, he's missing bunnies left and right.
Faris, who scored 19 at the Mack on Jan. 3, is 1-of-6 from the floor tonight.
Meanwhile, René Rougeau has 10 points and 7 rebounds for the Rebels. He's completely taken away the size advantage New Mexico has over UNLV.
7:20, first half, UNLV leads 24-19
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Darris Santee is set to check in for the first time with 7:20 to play in the first half, and the Rebels have hardly needed a big man so far. Who would? They've got Kendall Wallace.
Yes, you read that right. He's having a huge first half so far, having played 9 minutes off the bench, and has yet to connect on a 3-pointer. Wallace already has 3 rebounds, but just hit two tough layups. One was of the coast-to-coast variety, while the other came off of a screen and drew contact at the end.
The Rebels are playing crisp in a tough road environment, trailing in the rebound column right now by only 3 at 13-10, and they have yet to commit a turnover.
13:26, first half, UNLV leads 14-8
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Lon Kruger started freshman guard Oscar Bellfield over junior forward Darris Santee, and it spaced out the floor for UNLV considerably on the offensive end, with the Rebels having shot out to a 14-8 lead over New Mexico.
Tre'Von Willis is 2-of-3 from 3-point range so far, and René Rougeau is putting on an offensive show we haven't seen for a little while, with 8 points coming in a variety of ways.
More important, though, is that the Rebels are holding their own in the paint without the presence of a true big man -- sound familiar? It's been said before, and before ... and before some more.
Kendall Wallace had two huge offensive rebounds on the Rebs' last possession -- yes, Kendall Wallace -- and it resulted in a Rougeau bucket.
Still no sign of Santee or Massamba coming in. This could be the TCU rotation all over again.
Pregame, Part Deux
It's worth pointing out that UNV coach Steve Alford's busted out the red blazer tonight. He looks like the guy we rented a car from today at Avis. Just sayin'.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Hello everyone, a merry Saturday evening to you and yours and welcome to The Pit.
Honestly, as a first-time visitor, it feels a bit like we're in a bomb shelter. Ron Kantowski and Rob Miech described the site of The Pit on the inside and out on the way here, but you just can't believe it until you see it.
From the outside, it looks like your run-of-the-mill furniture warehouse. Inside, you walk down a steep ramp that's at least 100 feet long to get down to the floor (seen on your right, with Kendall Wallace playing the role of 'tiny spec atop the ramp').
Watching players come down for shootaround is almost comical. That said, if you play for New Mexico, you have no excuse to have weak calves. Just none. Talk about a nice built-in form of punishment for Lobos coach Steve Alford.
Anyways, it's allegedly going to be pretty nuts in here. It's a good sign for the home team that the upper rim of the arena is already filling up. Expect the 18,000-plus capacity to be pushed.
If you're a believer in trends, and you're a UNLV fan, tonight might be your night. The Rebels come into The Pit as 5-point underdogs, marking the fourth time they've been road dogs this season. So far, they're 3-0.
However, this is a much better New Mexico team than the one that played UNLV to a two-point decision on Jan. 3 in the Mack.
The Lobos hold foes to a league-low 39.6 field goal percentage. Add that to a difficult road environment, and this one is very tough to read, since UNLV's been so good coming off defeats this season.
Anyways, on to tonight's three big predictions ...
1) Picks to click ... Miech wants UNM's Daniel Faris, who had a game-high 19 points in the first meeting. I'm taking Tre'Von Willis, the Rebels' true road assassin.
2) Free throw shooting decides this thing Both teams shoot under 70 percent from the stripe. In what promises to be a physical game, whoever takes care of business at the line will win. Then again, that's not much of a stretch.
3) Scores ... I'm taking UNLV, 67-60. Miech will go with New Mexico, 56-50.
Final note, Findlay grad and New Mexico redshirt Curtis Dennis says hello to everyone at Findlay and all his friends back in Vegas.
Talk to you shortly.