Rebels dodge a big bullet at CSU, 65-62

FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Whew! If Colorado State (6-8, 0-1) is the weakest team in the Mountain West Conference as most preseason polls suggest, the league might be a whole lot stronger than people thought. Just ask the UNLV Runnin' Rebels (12-3, 1-0), who were fortunate to escape Moby Arena with a 65-62 victory in their MWC opener on Saturday afternoon.

On a day when all-conference guard Wink Adams missed his first 10 3-point attempts, it was the 6-foot, 200-pound junior from Houston who hit the big shots down the stretch to rally the Rebels back from an eight-point deficit in the final six minutes.
Adams hit a long 3-pointer with 1:57 to go to snap his surprising streak and give UNLV a 60-58 lead. And after CSU 7-footer Ronnie Aguilar tied it with a putback with 1:24 to go, it was Adams who drilled another 3-pointer from the right side of the key with 1:02 to go for what proved to be the game-winner.
Adams (18 points on 5 of 17 shooting) also sank two free throws with 2.2 seconds left to give the Rebels a little breathing room. CSU guard Josh Simmons' off-balance 3-pointer from the left of the key at the buzzer clanged off the left side of the rim.
"It's just all about getting a win," Adams said when asked how he managed to overcome his 0-for-10 3-point shot start. "My teammates kept telling me, ‘Keep shooting, keep shooting.' And when you have teammates who believe in you that, I just kept shooting and I kind of got in a groove (at the end). … I was able to get those two big 3's at the end."
"He did the same thing last year against them," guard Curtis Terry said. "He stepped up and made some big plays for us. Wink is going to keep shooting. And if he stops shooting it, me and him are going to have to go outside and have some words because we're not going to be a good team if he doesn't keep putting them up."
Adams admitted to feeling a sense of relief when he finally drained his first three that capped a 10-1 scoring spurt for the Rebels and gave UNLV its first lead (60-58) since the 11:55 mark of the second half.
"I kind of short-armed it," Adams said. "I didn't know that it was going to go in. When it went in, it was like a sigh of relief. … When I hit that one, I had the confidence to shot another one."
Colorado State, playing without 7-foot center Stuart Creason (sore left foot), turned to a quicker four-guard offense led by penetrating point guard Marcus Walker (18 points, 7 assists) and former Durango High star Andre McFarland (14 points, 6 rebounds). The Rams frustrated the UNLV offense with a quick and active 2-3 zone that forced the impatient Rebels into 37 3-point attempts. The Rebels made just 11 of them (29.7 percent).
Until Adams' late streak from behind the arc, it seemed like the only Rebel who could hit a 3-pointer was Terry (18 points, 6 of 8 treys). Terry hit two 3-pointers a good five-feet behind the 3-point arc.
"Tonight Curtis kind of carried us on his back," Adams said.
Center Joe Darger (13 points, 5 rebounds) also connected on a trio of 3-pointers in eight attempts.
UNLV now has a week to prepare for its next game at Air Force on Jan. 12.

Inside the Rebels Top Stories