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Adams doesn’t miss shot to be hero

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Even after misfiring 10 consecutive times from 3-point range, UNLV junior Wink Adams didn’t blink. He kept his sights set on the rim and continued to pull the trigger.

Adams awoke from one of the worst shooting slumps of his career to make two 3-pointers in the final two minutes Saturday.

Curtis Terry carried the Rebels for most of the game, and Adams finished the job, lifting UNLV to a 65-62 victory over Colorado State in the teams’ Mountain West Conference opener at Moby Arena.

“My teammates were telling me, ‘Just keep shooting,’ and I was able to hit the two big 3s at the end,” Adams said.

Adams and Terry each scored 18 points as the Rebels (12-3) erased an eight-point deficit with six minutes remaining.

Adams stopped his 0-for-10 skid by sinking his first 3-pointer with 1:57 left, giving the Rebels a 60-58 lead.

“When it went in, it was like a sigh of relief,” Adams said. “I missed so many, so when I hit that one, I had confidence to shoot another one.”

Adams’ second 3, with 1:04 on the clock, put UNLV up 63-60.

“That showed what kind of competitor Wink is,” Rebels coach Lon Kruger said. “He stepped up there and knocked a couple down at a critical time.”

UNLV still had to overcome two turnovers on inbounds passes in the last 30 seconds before subduing the Rams (6-8). Adams sealed the victory by making two free throws with 2.2 seconds to go.

Freshman forward Andre McFarland, a former Durango High School standout, scored on a fast break with 5:54 left to put Colorado State ahead 57-49. The crowd of 4,023 roared and sensed an upset.

But Joe Darger scored five points and Terry hit a 3-pointer as the Rebels closed the gap, and Adams’ 3-pointer completed an 11-1 run.

“We had to make a lot of shots just to have a chance to win, and when you put yourself in that position, you don’t always survive,” Kruger said.

With UNLV trying to protect a 63-62 lead, Darger traveled on an inbounds play with 27 seconds left. The Rams’ Josh Simmons drove the lane but had his shot blocked by Corey Bailey.

The Rebels’ next inbounds play resulted in another turnover. Rene Rougeau’s pass to Adams was stolen by Colorado State’s Willis Gardner with 15 seconds to go. Gardner cut through the defense for the potential game winner, but his layup was blocked by Rougeau.

Rams coach Tim Miles, without injured 7-foot center Stuart Creason, started a four-guard lineup and utilized a zone defense.

Terry torched the zone by shooting 6-for-8 on 3-pointers — launching several of them from 25 feet — but UNLV shot 11-for-37 from 3-point range as a team.

“I thought Colorado State played great. I thought Tim had a great plan, and we didn’t adjust as well as we need to, certainly,” Kruger said. “We were just way too impatient, and we settled for shots way too early. Curtis made shots to keep us in it for a while.”

Rougeau finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds, and Darger made three 3-pointers on his way to 13 points for the Rebels, who led 39-30 early in the second half.

The Rams shot 26-for-55 (47.3 percent) and dominated in the paint with a 36-18 scoring advantage. They were led by Marcus Walker with 18 points and McFarland with 14.

“At times we had really good defensive possessions, and then way too many times Walker got loose,” Kruger said.

Terry, who had five assists and no turnovers in 38 minutes, kept UNLV afloat until Adams took control.

“Wink’s going to keep shooting it,” Terry said. “If he stops shooting it, me and him are going to have to step outside and have some words because we’re not going to be a good team if he doesn’t keep putting them up.

“We had a lot of open shots, and we didn’t make a lot, but we made enough. Coach told us in the locker room, ‘I’m proud of you guys for fighting adversity and being able to win the game.’ “

The Rebels are off until Saturday, when they play at Air Force.

Contact reporter Matt Youmans at myoumans@reviewjournal.com or (702) 387-2907.

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