Cold shooting dooms Rebels

UNLV found itself back on the national stage for the first time since its Sweet Sixteen loss to Oregon last March in St. Louis on Wednesday night against No. 6 Louisville at the Thomas & Mack Center. And for about 25 minutes the Runnin' Rebels held their own before some horrendous shooting finally caught up to them.

UNLV (3-1) shot a dreadful 25.0 percent from the floor (16 of 64), including 20.0 percent (6 of 30) from 3-point range, in a 68-48 loss to the Cardinals (3-0) before a crowd of 14,133.

The loss snapped a 19-game home win streak for the Rebels dating back to a 79-76 loss to UC Santa Barbara on Nov. 17, 2006. It was also the team's worst home defeat since a 98-73 drubbing by USC on Feb, 9, 2003.

"Any time you play a top five team in the country logically you would think you would have to shoot it well, and we didn't," UNLV coach Lon Kruger said. "Give credit Louisville for some of that."

The Cardinals kept UNLV off-balanced with a 2-3 zone for about the first 26 minutes and then switched to a smothering man-to-man defense after Curtis Terry hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Runnin' Rebels a 35-33 lead with 14:36 to go.

Louisville coach Rick Pitino, booed loudly before the game by the crowd because of his decision to turn down the UNLV head coaching position in 2001, then called a timeout and switched his defense to man-to-man.

Louisville responded by going on a 16-2 run over the next 6½ minutes to go ahead, 49-37. The Rebels never got any closer than eight points after that.

"They worked their game plan well and they were successful in contesting some of our shots, and we didn't shoot the ball well," Terry, who finished with eight points on just 2 of 9 shooting, said. "Hopefully we can get back in the gym and keep working and shoot it better next time out."

"We just didn't shoot the ball well. If we shot the ball a little better, it would have been a different outcome."

"We did our homework … making the extra pass and getting our advantages," guard Wink Adams, who finished with nine points on just 3 of 12 shooting, said. "We just weren't knocking the shots down."

Center Matt Shaw led the Rebels with 11 points while forward Joe Darger just missed a double-double with nine points and 13 rebounds. Athletic 6-foot-9 wing forward Earl Clark led Louisville with 16 points and 13 rebounds and looked like a future NBA lottery pick in the process.

The Rebels host in-state rival Nevada on Saturday night.

"We can't sit around and put our heads down," Adams said. "We've got to bounce back. We did the same thing last year against Santa Barbara. It's just something we have to learn from."

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