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Wallace gets ‘the feel,’ UNLV gets the win, 74-62

Junior guard’s hot hand paces Rebels to road upset of No. 15 New Mexico


Justin M. Bowen

UNLV guard Kendall Wallace hits one of his seven 3-pointers during the game against New Mexico on Jan. 9 at The Pit in Albuquerque, N.M. The Rebels beat the 15th-ranked Lobos, 74-62.

UNLV vs #15 New Mexico

Led by Kendall Wallace's seven 3-pointers, UNLV takes care of 15th-ranked New Mexico at The Pit, 74-62.

UNLV-New Mexico Basketball

UNLV players run up the ramp to their locker room after defeating the Lobos on Jan. 9 at The Pit in Albuquerque, N.M. The Rebels beat the 15th-ranked Lobos, 74-62. Launch slideshow »

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The Rebel Room

NEW MEXICO POSTGAME: The Kendall Wallace Show

Ryan Greene and Christine Killimayer reflect on what turned out to be The Kendall Wallace Show in Albuquerque on Saturday, as UNLV took down No. 15 New Mexico, 74-62, behind the junior guard's seven 3-pointers. Plus, a look back at what was the first week of Mountain West play.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In Kendall Wallace's world, what everyone watching saw during a magical second half against No. 15 New Mexico is referred to as "the feel."

When "the feel" takes the UNLV junior guard over, the results can change a game on a dime.

In The Pit, in front of a sold-out crowd, that's exactly what happened, as he hit six of his seven 3-point attempts after the half, pacing the Rebels to a 74-62 upset victory on Saturday afternoon to cap a hectic opening week in Mountain West Conference play.

"I had that feel and I was just shooting them without thinking about it," said Wallace, whose career-high 21 points led all scorers. "You get that feel, you get that right release point, that timing down and you feel like you can't miss — and that bucket looks huge."

Wallace was 7-of-10 from long range on the night, but he really found his groove at just the right moment.

UNLV (13-3 overall, 1-1 Mountain West) led 36-30 at the half and had kept a packed crowd of 14,586 quiet thanks to grabbing a 9-2 lead. The Rebels took advantage of the Lobos' defensive laxness in the opening minutes.

But New Mexico (14-3, 0-2) came out strong after the break behind an inspired effort from star junior forward Darington Hobson — a Las Vegas native who moved away after his freshman year at Western High.

The rangy 6-foot-7 wing showed up after scoring only two points on 1-of-3 shooting in the first half, putting up 10 of New Mexico's first 16 points after halftime.

With 10:30 to play in the game, an uncontested Will Brown layup underneath gave the Lobos their first lead of the game, and the crowd increasingly grew louder.

Then, Hobson simply was gassed, dragging his feet up and down the floor, flailing and gasping for air.

Yanking at his jersey to come out of the game, Alford pulled him with 9:22 to go after UNLV's Tre'Von Willis drew a foul and a trip to the line.

Without Hobson out of the game, the Rebels attacked.

Willis hit two free throws to take the lead back, then, two trips up the floor later, still leading 47-46, UNLV's Oscar Bellfield held the ball in the right corner in front of his bench, with only seven seconds showing on the play clock.

He waved for Brice Massamba to clear out of the paint, and Bellfield drove hard down the baseline.

"When Oscar penetrates, he's always looking to pass it out, so I knew I had to spot up," Wallace said. "He went baseline, so we're taught to go to the corner. I drifted deep into the corner and Oscar found me."

Wallace cashed the wide-open attempt, then hit another moments later from almost the same spot that extended UNLV's lead to seven points. Another three then came from Chace Stanback, and with a 56-46 lead and only 6:29 to play, New Mexico never challenged again.

At the time he came out of the game, Hobson had been the most effective player on the floor in the second half. By the time he came back in about three minutes later, it didn't matter much, as the Lobos were deep in the aforementioned hole.

"We had a couple of mismatches and just took advantage of it," Bellfield said of the stretch with Hobson on the bench. "We just took advantage of the open opportunities and really created for each other."

UNLV had 20 assists as a team and only eight turnovers, taking care of the ball consistently from start to finish.

Never was that more important than in the closing minutes. After being plagued by crucial giveaways Wednesday in a late collapse at BYU, the Rebels' focus entering the final minutes was much sharper this time around.

"I think at the BYU game, we played not to lose there at the end, and this game, we wanted to make sure we came out and, if we had the lead, we wanted to make sure we came out and played to win," Wallace said. "We were able to do that, execute on offense at the end, get a few buckets and hold them off."

The idea of playing to win best was displayed out of a New Mexico timeout called with 1:43 left, after the Lobos closed to within six points at 68-62.

UNLV ran a play to feed its hot hand, and Wallace hit his seventh and final trey. On his way back up the floor, he glanced briefly up to the suddenly silenced stands.

In the end, the Rebels made a true statement in what was their most impressive victory to date this season.

On the night, they were 27-of-59 from the floor, with the wealth spread out pretty evenly. On the defensive end, the Rebels held New Mexico to 18-of-50 shooting and, for the most part, silenced the league's most productive 3-point gun — 6-foot-6 senior Roman Martinez. The Lobo forward was just 2-of-7 from long range and as a team New Mexico was only 4-of-18 from deep.

Willis scored 20 points and also registered four assists, two rebounds and two steals. Stanback answered the bell on the glass better than anyone for UNLV following a sloppy team showing Wednesday. He had nine boards — seven on the defensive end — to go with his 14 points.

As far as setting up teammates, Bellfield and Derrick Jasper led the way. Bellfield had seven assists in what was just the second scoreless game of his UNLV career, while Jasper had six assists and only one turnover along with six points and seven rebounds.

"Some of the guys who didn't make as many plays as we'd like them to (at BYU), they made plays today," Willis said.

Added coach Lon Kruger: "Kendall obviously made some big shots to widen the lead out while Tre was nursing some foul trouble. Anthony (Marshall) goes in and makes the big steal. A lot of guys made big plays. Derrick was aggressive; I thought Chace was much more aggressive. We need that out of those guys."

Even though solid performances were checked in across the board and everyone seemingly had their memorable individual moment, Wallace made the biggest statement.

In his teammates' eyes, it was simply his turn.

"On this team, any given guy can step up any given day," Willis added. "Tonight it was Kendall, and we got a team win."

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  1. Couldn't of done it with out Steve Jones 1 rebound, 1 personal foul, and 1 turnover. Great job, now go get the real players some towels and something to drink.

  2. if your post is about a guy that plays 7 minutes SHUT UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Your right Warrior....Jones is awful...Your moron Lv-born-raised.

  4. Fellas, for real ... you're sounding ridiculous ... Try enjoying your team's win for a change ...

  5. That was no upset.

  6. The "Scarlet Sniper" strikes again!!

  7. How about that 3 headed monster at center; 11 pts, 0 rebs, 1 blk?

    Scary Monster!!!

  8. how bout this:
    *How about KWs 7 three-ptrs??
    *How about Tre's consistant play the last 2 games since getting the break he needed to nurse his injuries?

  9. Plain and simple.....Not a single player complains about losing minutes to Steve. In fact the players say that they feed off of him and his energy and he brings an intensity to work off of. GET OVER IT!!! The guy's role isn't to fill the stat sheet. If you haven't figured that out yet than your dumber than you sound. He is a "role player". I'm sure you've heard of those. The fact that you guys keep bringing it up is what is "awful". You're "that guy" right now...you know, that one that continues to tell a joke, because no one laughed. It's not funny, it's just weak.

  10. @ ksiffermann

    I will more than happy to buy you a beer at the Cantina before a game and discuss basketball knowledge. It is easy to hide behind a anonymous posting!

  11. nice.... cantina is my spot.. BUT lets quit threatening people who disagree with us. I dont like chopper out there either.. i'd rather marshall or hawkins.. but whatever. i also dont like our teams sit-on-the-3-point-line and watch each other NOT move without the ball. our 2 man game is stagnant and wish i knew what the answer was... but like everyone else on this message board.. we are simple spectators. great win, see all of you wed at the cantina...

  12. Great win in a very tough place to play. Don't want to rest on our laurels with this victory but this one really matters. Very proud of my Rebs with this victory. Go Fight Win! See ya Wednesday.

  13. SDSU is the worst team on the face of the earth and stop complaining about Steve...he plays good enough defense to get PT. You guys need to be talking about J-Hawk....now he's dreadful.

  14. @AJ_C... I like it...

    "Hey, so you hear the one about Chop...I hear he get so many minutes that is causes some of our fans to not use proper grammar"... LOL...

    I just flipped through the other board... Ksiff, do you need a hug?... I really tend to think a coach that has been to the final four knows his S***... I would tend to believe the sweet 16 run wasn't an accident either... And somehow he goes to the #15 team's house gets lucky and coaches the team to a 12 point win... Like I said on my other post I am betting the last place Coach K is looking is here for coaching suggestions...

    I guess I am in the minority on here when I say I enjoyed that game wire to wire... We just beat a number 15 on the road!!!

    GO REBs!!

    ps: I still hate Tavernari!!

  15. Missed most of game, usual pre-game bar festivities held at Paradise Cantina on 4480 S Paradise road(Alumni owned and operated)didn't have the game on versus!Spent the next 35 minutes looking for the game in casinos and bars finally found it @ the Rio Hotel. Caught the last five minutes ...impresive close out game. UNLV snaps another conference opponets home win streak(BYU last year).
    My impression; the boys are getting there freshman are growing up quickly Kendall(Bird), Shaw(Feathery) and Tre(Silky, great stutter step) are money, and Jasper(DJ)Masmaba(Big Papi) and Chace all played well...No easy task to win in the"Pit" congrats boys....Fans need to come out and support the Rebels vs. SDSU they look good no easy opener.Paradise Cantina is a Great pre-game bar to go to that I highly recommend with great Rebel atmosphere and an easy walk to the TM! See ya in Red! Go Rebels!

  16. There is something I plan on hearing alot these next 8 home games,
    "Three Point Goal! Kendall Wallace."
    I wonder how many games some of the idiots on here plan on attending.
    As for Chop, I heard this somewhere, don't remember where, but someone referred to him as a pest. And I have a feeling whoever he guards during the game feels the same way. The guy is instant energy.

  17. The Rebs final put a "full" game together...What a great win, even if NM was not ranked, this win is hugh after the BYU loss....GO REBELS......Go, Fight, WIN!!!!!!!

  18. Great win for the rebels! I'm glad that I didn't have to work today because my restaurant has direct TV and Direct doesn't carry versus (supposedly due to high network prices). Anyway, Kendall was a machine tonight. We really are a team that lives and dies by our D and the three-pointer, but today it worked out for us in typical rebel fashion. SDSU beat UNM last week so they are definitely a team we can't look past, they have some real good players but it'll be nice to finally get back in to the T&M. Go Rebels!

  19. Maxus, New Mexico are ranked 14th/15th in the country dude (at least until tommorow).

  20. Great defensive effort, consistently fronting the ball and preventing their drives to the lane. Alford could not/would not make the adjustment and the Rebels won despite allowing UNM to be in the bonus with over 12 minutes to go in the game. Very impressive. I have to admit I slightly cringe at the thought of the Rebels re-entering the rankings, as it seems the guys relax a bit when they are ranked but whatever great 'W'. See you at the Mack on Wednesday. Go-fight-win. SDSU will be tough, because they crash the boards like crazy. Santee/Shaw/Massamba better be ready to mix it up...

  21. @ Lv born in raised...I would love to educate you. Reb's need to turn there focus on San Diego State, this wins means nothing if we can't hold home court. Good luck Wednsday.

  22. Did anyone save RebelnSoccerFanatic posts on how UNM was going to run UNLV off the floor? No mention of that, huh...RebelnSoccerFanatic...???

  23. Ryan

    Any word on Buckley? Where he is? How he is playing? If he is still in UNLV's plans? Anything would be appreciated!

  24. I'm still waiting for Lobo69 to emerge from the hole he is in.

  25. Runnin19- they talk about him being a pest on 1100AM. Like someone else said, if everyone on the team believes he provides a spark that's all that matters.

    Great win by the Rebels. Now we've got to protect home court. It'll be interesting to see what happens in the Polls tomorrow.

    JohnVegas - RebelSoccerFanatic is a joke. BYU and UNM were supposed to destroy us.
    Tre should have been benched. This guy is so off it's not even funny. Now SDSU is the worst team in the Conference and Hawkins (a freshman) is horrible based on a few off games. Sounds like someone that claims to be a fan, but is really just a hater at heart.

  26. One of the best-played games I've seen all season!

    Great win for the Rebels!

  27. Born-N-Raised ... An update on Buckley will be coming soon. He's playing at a prep school in North Carolina at the moment, and from what I heard, he's progressing nicely. Definitely yes, still in UNLV's plans moving forward. Keep an eye out for it!

  28. I hope Drew Gordon was watching this game to get a glimpse of his future.


  30. Edit:

    If you wanna watch the away games, I've been at the henderson Buffalo wild wings, and they show every game. I bet others around town play the game as well.

  31. I'm enjoying your team's loss, mr. kansas.

  32. I always liked the Cantina...didn't know it was alumni owned....now I like it even better!

  33. @Camron,

    He was in fact there. I saw him up by the UNM locker room afterwards. He, however, was not on the bench during the game.

  34. What's going on with Polee? It's not a violation for a reporter to follow up from his visit here, see where he's at.

  35. Don't worry, Lenny. That's coming with the Buckley update. Sit tight :)

  36. As i said before, I have this hunch, this feeling, that Polee will sign. He just looks like a Runnin' Rebel to me for some reason. The fact that USC is a complete mess doesn't hurt either. New Mexico will be fine, I think they are slumping a bit right now, we definitely played them at the right time. Can't wait for Wednesday, another tough challenge with SDSU and their rebounding ability. Go Rebs

  37. Great game for the guys. I was waiting for them to let NM back in the game, but they closed it out, like a winning team is supposed to. KW was a machine, we are usually on the receiving end of a 3 point barrage like that.

    When it comes to Chop playing, it seems to me that his minutes should be coming in garbage time and the "prime time" minutes should be going to develop the freshmen. His "energy" off the bench has accounted for 1 or 2 good plays that I can think of, but a lot more of the "deer in the headlights" looks.

  38. Ryan

    Looks like your getting grief from all angles today so I'll just use this opportunity to tell you that you're doing a wonderful job covering not only the UNLV basketball games but all things concerning UNLV basketball.

    I'd love to remind Drew how he made a bad choice but then I remembered that Lon didn't even offer him a scholarship. Must have learned all that he needed to on Drew's visit.

  39. i will second that... we are giving you grief.. and you are doing a wonderful job. and we all thank you for never mentioning anything byu does ever again. ;)

  40. I third that! Ryan, you have filled in for Rob better than I could have ever imagined. I want to personally thank you for that. You are the man! Keep the videos coming and maybe some from practice? Where's the "guest" in the Rebel Room podcast been at lately, though??