Rebels survive hot-shooting TCU, 89-88

Midway through the second half of Thursday night's Mountain West Tournament quarterfinal game with TCU, UNLV point guard Curtis Terry struck up a conversation with Horned Frog guard Brent Hackett. "I told him, ‘It's a shootout,'" Terry said. "And he said, "Yep, and it's going to be that way.'" Shootout? Heck, this was more like Playstation.

In a well-played up-and-down game that featured 15 lead changes and 10 ties, TCU (14-16), a team that shot just 33.8 percent from 3-point range this season, made an incredible 17-of-23 treys (73.9 percent) and out-rebounded the Runnin' Rebels (24-7) by 11 … and still lost.

In the end it was Rebel guard Wink Adams who fired final and biggest bullet in a wild 89-88 comeback victory that may very well may be the difference between getting an NCAA Tournament invitation on Selection Sunday or heading off to, gulp, the NIT.

Hackett's sixth 3-pointer of the game over Joe Darger with 30.5 seconds left had given TCU a 88-86 lead.

The Rebels ran the clock down to 13.3 seconds before calling a timeout to set up a play. But Curtis Terry's lob into the post for Joe Darger was deflected out of bounds with 7.2 seconds to go.

TCU coach Neil Dougherty used his final timeout to set up his defense. Adams, who finished with a game-high 29 points (10-of-15 from the floor), got the ball to right of the key, drove, pulled up and nailed an eight-footer over center Kevin Langford who was also called for a foul.

Adams then sank the ensuing free throw to give UNLV an 89-88 lead with 3.4 seconds left.

"That was the play we wanted," Adams said. "Kind of clear out one side. … I just went in with confidence and kind of floated it up and I was able to get an ‘and-one.'"

"He made a big-time play," Dougherty said. "He's made a lot of plays like that in his career, though."

Hackett took the inbounds pass and then launched a 19-footer at the buzzer that hit the front of the rim and bounced off. A photo by Rebel Nation photographer Louie Traub showed the ball was still in Hackett's hand, however, with the red light on behind the backboard, so the shot would not have counted anyway.

"Everybody brought their ‘A' game and everybody was making plays," Adams said. "At the end we were grateful that they missed their last two (shots)."

"Tonight it was amazing just for the fact that we would come down and hit a shot and they would come back down and hit a shot," Terry, who finished with 15 points (4-of-6 treys), said. "We'd come back and make a play and they would come back and make a play. … I heard they made 17 threes and I was like, ‘Man, I thought they might have made 20.' They made a lot. Luckily for us, Wink made a great play at the end, got the basket and got the foul."

UNLV wasn't too shabby shooting the ball either. The Rebels shot 58.5 percent (31-of-53) from the floor, including a solid 11-of-25 (44.0 percent) behind the arc.

Longtime UNLV observers rated the game right up there with the team's 120-117 double overtime win over New Mexico in the 2002 MWC Tourney as far as the most entertaining contests the team has played in the post-Tark era.

"I thought it was a heck of a game," UNLV coach Lon Kruger said. "We made some great plays there late to get us over the top."


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