Rebels chop down the Lumberjacks, 83-74

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Freshman guard Kendell Wallace made his long awaited college debut just 100 miles north of his old high school in Mesa. And if his performance in UNLV's 83-74 win over Northern Arizona here on Wednesday night was any indication, it was well worth the wait for Lon Kruger and company.

Wallace, sidelined for two months with a stress fracture in his right fibula, scored nine points in 12 minutes of action, including a four-point play on his first ever college shot that highlighted a 23-5 first half scoring run by the Rebels (6-2).

UNLV, which led by as many as 20 points (34-14) early in the first half, saw its lead dwindle down to seven points, 81-74, on Zach Filzen's 3-pointer with seven seconds to go. Joe Darger's two free throws with three seconds left quashed any Lumberjack miracle comeback hopes.

Wallace also nailed two free throws with 15.4 seconds left and hit another key 3-pointer midway through the second half after NAU (4-4) had closed to within 10 points.

"First game out I thought Kendall played very well," Kruger said. "Pretty good way to start your career with a four-point play."

"I just saw Wink (Adams) penetrating down there, and I knew I was going to shoot it, so I got my feet set and then just knocked it down," Wallace said of his 3-pointer from the right side of the key. Filzen was also called for a foul on the play when he sent Wallace crashing to the floor after the shot, and the 6-foot-4 graduate of Mountain View High in Mesa, Ariz., then calmly sank the free throw to complete the four-point play.

"I'm glad to have gotten that assist," Adams, who had 16 points and a team-high six assists, said. "Kendall's first (basket) in his career, and he got an "and-one" 3-pointer. I thought that was big. (He's) probably going to go down in school history as the only player who probably did that (on his first shot). … He's going to be a great player."

Wallace estimated he had about 14 friends and family who made the drive up from Mesa to see his first game as a Rebel.

"I was excited to make my debut in Arizona," Wallace said. "It's been real frustrating not being able to play. Just seeing everyone in practice, and especially when the first game came. I really wanted to be out there to help the team. Now I've got my shot and I'm going to try and take advantage of it."

Adams and Curtis Terry (16 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists) led UNLV in scoring while Darger and center Matt Shaw each added 14 points. UNLV returns to action on Saturday night against Fresno State at the Orleans Arena.

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