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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “UNLV, Wink sink ‘Cats”

    UNLV guard Wink Adams (1) drives to the basket in a 79-64 Rebel win in Thomas & Mack Center on Saturday afternoon. Adams led all scorers with 25 points, as he sank seven shots from beyond the arc.
    UNLV guard Wink Adams (1) drives to the basket in a 79-64 Rebel win in Thomas & Mack Center on Saturday afternoon. Adams led all scorers with 25 points, as he sank seven shots from beyond the arc.

    UNLV 79, Arizona 64

    LAS VEGAS – It’s easy for some to stay in Las Vegas and not sleep a wink.

    On Saturday afternoon in Thomas & Mack Center, however, the Arizona men’s basketball team (7-3) couldn’t afford to sleep on Wink.

    Rebel guard Wink Adams led a formidable offense, scoring a game-high 25 points while sinking a scorching 7-of-12 shots from beyond the arc.

    Coming into the game, Adams had made about 17 percent of his shots from the outside. But after missing his first three 3-pointers, the streaky shooter ended his drought in a dramatic fashion when he made his first trey of the game with 3:14 to go in the half.

    “”I’ve been in a serious shooting slump,”” Adams said, “”and I think when the game started off, I think I missed two and I was like, ‘Here we go again. Another bad shooting night.'””

    Adams has been arriving at practice an hour before his teammates and staying an hour later. “”Just constantly shooting,”” he said. “”Just shoot, shoot, shoot. I think tonight it finally paid off for me and it couldn’t have come at a better time.””

    The guard’s emotion peaked when he hit a wide-open triple from the left side, giving the Rebels (10-2) a 61-48 lead. Adams ran down the court screaming, grabbing the front of his jersey with both hands. It was one of 14 long balls for the Rebels in the contest.

    “”Once the momentum is going, fatigue don’t play a factor,”” Adams said, smiling. “”I was playing off of adrenaline. I told them, ‘Swing the ball back this way and I’m gonna shoot it if I’m open.’ They were just falling tonight.””

    After a Chase Budinger tip-in for the Wildcats, sophomore Tre’Von Willis hit a pair of 3s, ballooning the score to 67-48.

    Two possessions later, Adams dropped a layup to change the score to 71-48.

    Because of Adams’ shooting percentage from the outside coming into the game, Budinger said the Wildcats didn’t play the UNLV guard as close as they could have.

    “”But a guy like that just goes off,”” said Budinger, who led the Wildcats with 22 points. “”It’s going to happen to you each and every game: you’re going to have one guy that goes off.””

    Down the stretch Arizona trailed by as much as 23, marking the Wildcats’ worst deficit of the season, despite playing before a crowd composed of many Arizona fans in town for the football team’s bowl game later in the day.

    The “”U of A”” chants, however, didn’t seem to bother UNLV.

    “”That’s what’s fun,”” Adams said. “”You hear the U of A chant on this side, you hear the UNLV chant on the other side. You couldn’t get a better feeling playing this game. The momentum was on both sides.””

    UNLV, however, seemed to have the most momentum. The Rebels shot 42.9 percent (27-for-63) from the field, as Arizona shot just 39.7 percent (23-for-58).

    “”They came out, they switched everything on us,”” Budinger said. “”They switched on-ball screens, even just running past each other – they even switched those. And I think that really confused us in the beginning.””

    A little more than 3 minutes into the second half, UA freshman Kyle Fogg botched a dunk on a fast break. UNLV got the ball back and Adams hit a long 3-pointer to put his team up 43-36. Instead of the Wildcats being down by 2, they were down by 7.

    UNLV continued its scoring binge, capitalizing on missed UA shots and turnovers to go on a 15-0 run to extend the lead to 55-36.

    “”We had some momentum,”” said UA interim head coach Russ Pennell. “”We could have continued with that momentum. It seemed to flip after (Fogg’s missed dunk. He is) a young player and he’ll learn from those types of mistakes. It seemed like that was a real turning point.””

    The Wildcats went into halftime trailing 32-27 after shooting 31 percent (9-for-29) from the field, while UNLV shot 7-for-18 from 3-point land alone.

    Willis sank a 3-pointer from the left corner, putting Arizona in a 24-15 hole with 6:43 to go in the first half. It was the largest lead of the half, but was cut to 29-27 with a layup by UA forward Jordan Hill with 33 seconds left.

    The charity stripe helped keep the Wildcats close, as they hit 8-of-10 free throws in the opening half. The Rebels, on the other hand, only shot 1-of-2 from the line in that span.

    But when all was said and done, Adams’ hot streak from the outside kept the Wildcats off guard, and ended up being the deciding factor in the contest.

    “”A lot of those that Wink Adams shot, we had a hand in his face,”” Pennell said. “”He hit one over Chase where Chase was draped all over him. There’s no defense for that. That’s just a good basketball player making a play.””

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