X-rays negative for White's ribs

CHICAGO – As UNLV was putting the finishing touches on its first NCAA Tournament victory in 16 years, senior forward Wendell White, one of the main reasons for the ground-breaking 67-63 victory, was doubled over on the bench in pain.

White, who scored 14 of his co-game-high 19 points in the second half, including a basket off an inbounds pass that broke a 59-59 tie and put the Runnin' Rebels ahead to stay, had taken an elbow to some already sore ribs just prior to his big basket.

White left the game shortly thereafter and could be seen grimacing on the bench during the final 1:11 of action. He had X-rays taken for the injury afterward and said they came back negative.

"It's just a bruise," White said. "It's not a break. I'll be alright."

However, White said it still hurt for him to breath even 40 minutes after the game while he was chatting with reporters.

"It was basically an elbow," White said of the injury which occurred on a play when guard Wink Adams dove out of bounds to retrieve a ball that he threw off of Georgia Tech guard Javaris Crittenton to enable UNLV to keep possession offensively.

White said Yellow Jacket forward Zach Peacock was the player who nailed him away from the play.

White said the injury hurt more than the broken jaw he suffered last month. Still, he said he plans on playing in Sunday afternoon's second round game against a very big and physical Wisconsin squad.

"I'm going to go, man," White said. "It's not going to hold me down."

White, nicknamed "The Bull" by his teammates, seemed to put UNLV on his broad shoulders in the second half offensively.

After Georgia Tech finished a 23-9 run to tie the game, 40-40, on a 3-pointer by Anthony Morrow with 15:59 remaining, White, who had scored just five points up to that point, scored 14 of UNLV's next 21 points, several of them on tough drives to the basket.

White credited a pep talk from teammates Gaston Essengue, Michael Umeh, Wink Adams and Kevin Kruger for getting him going after intermission.

"Mike, Wink and Kevin, and especially Gaston (said), ‘We need you to step up your game,'" White said. "I took it kind of personal. I was ready for it. So I took the challenge and my teammates had a lot of confidence in me. And we came up with some good results."

"Wendell made some really strong plays in the second half," UNLV coach Lon Kruger said. "He ripped it and he drove it to the bucket and really finished some plays with authority. He made some big plays at critical times."

"He really took over the game down the stretch," added center Joel Anthony. "He came up with such huge plays. He was able to get some big offensive boards and then some huge buckets. He made some big baskets down the stretch and some ‘and-ones.' But that is the type of player Wendell is."

Now the question is will White's sore ribs allow him to do it again on Sunday?

Stay tuned.

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