The Runnin' Rebels (7-3) shot a dismal 31.0 percent from the floor for the game and managed just one field goal in the final eight minutes. The result was a frustrating 52-49 loss.
Thanks to some outstanding defense which resulted in 11 steals and 15 Wildcat turnovers, UNLV never trailed in the contest until Arizona guard Nic Wise connected on one of two free throws with 1:18 to go to break a 48-48 tie.
UNLV guard Wink Adams, who finished with 19 points, eight rebounds and four steals in his finest game of the season, had a chance to give the Rebels the lead back when he drove to the basket with 52 seconds to go. However, his tough layup try rolled in and came out.
Guard Jawann McClellan's 3-pointer from the left corner with 26 seconds remaining after a nice penetration and dish by Wise upped Arizona's lead to four, 52-48, and proved to be the game-winner.
"We gave it our all to be honest with you," junior guard Rene Rougeau said. "We just couldn't hit shots at the end."
"I thought we played a pretty good game," junior forward Joe Darger added. "We only had six turnovers. We took care of the ball real well. Coming down the stretch we just weren't hitting shots, and they did."
Darger (13 points on just 4 of 14 shooting) and senior point guard Curtis Terry (6 points on 2 of 12 shooting) both struggled badly with their shots and were a combined 2 of 13 from 3-point range.
Meanwhile, Arizona 6-11 sophomore forward Jordan Hill had a double-double by halftime as the Wildcats (8-2) exposed UNLV's lack of size inside. Hill finished with 16 points and 19 rebounds.
"It was a heckuva of a basketball game," UNLV coach Lon Kruger said. "I thought both teams really fought hard. There was never much of a margin either way. Buckets were obviously very difficult to come by.
"You can't be comfortable with losing, obviously, but the effort was great and we made it tough on them to score. We've got to keep getting better in that way and keep getting more physical. Rebounding continues to be a concern all year, and we'll work harder to get back in there and get five guys to commit to it."
Arizona held a 48-31 edge on the boards and finished with a 12-0 advantage in second chance points.
Cold-shooting Rebels come up short, 52-49
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