Adams flawless in Texas

FORT WORTH, Texas — Every time he returns to his home state, Wink Adams makes sure UNLV takes care of business.

“When I go back to Texas, I take it personal,” he said, “and my teammates really know how important it is for me to get the wins.”

Adams, from Houston, has led the Rebels to a 6-0 record in Texas during his career.

As a UNLV sophomore, he was victorious at Texas Tech and Houston, and this season in November, he won at Texas-El Paso. He is also 3-0 in road games against Texas Christian.

The senior guard is aiming to stay perfect in his Texas finale, when the Rebels (13-2, 1-0 Mountain West Conference) meet TCU (10-5, 1-0) at 2:30 p.m. today.

It will be a reunion for Adams, who said about 20 family members and friends are expected to make the trip to Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.

“I don’t get to go home a lot. Since I’ve been in college, I’ve only been home probably three times,” he said. “So whenever I get to go home, I’ve always got to put on a good show and make my family proud and try to win the game.”

The timing is right, too. Adams is returning to the starting lineup for the first time since he suffered a lower abdominal injury against Southern Utah on Dec. 23.

He sat out UNLV’s win at Louisville on Dec. 31 and went scoreless in 18 minutes off the bench in a victory over New Mexico last Saturday.

After Adams had a strong week of practice, coach Lon Kruger determined the team’s leading scorer is ready to go.

“It’s good to get him back healthy, and the last few days he appears to be 100 percent,” Kruger said. “You always hate to see that, especially for a guy in his senior year.”

Adams is 14th on the Rebels’ career scoring list with 1,615 points. He needs three points to pass Larry Johnson (1989-91) and 18 to pass Anderson Hunt (1988-91).

But Adams has not scored since making seven consecutive 3-pointers and putting up 25 points in a 79-64 victory over Arizona on Dec. 20.

“These last two weeks have been tough, not playing and sitting out of practice. Not scoring in the games is pretty awkward,” said Adams, whose scoring average has dropped from 15.3 to 13.1 points. “But I’m glad we won the games.

“I’m shooting better, jumping higher and playing defense full speed. I was kind of nervous at first, but it feels good.”

Kruger said UNLV needs Adams to be productive against a “much improved” TCU team coming off an 85-80 win at Texas Tech on Tuesday.

The Horned Frogs, under first-year coach Jim Christian, opened conference play with an 81-67 home victory over Colorado State on Jan. 3.

Adams has a history of big games against TCU, and he could use another.

He scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half to lead the Rebels to a 70-58 win at Fort Worth on Jan. 30, 2008. In the quarterfinals of the MWC tournament in March, Adams converted a three-point play with 3.4 seconds remaining, finishing with 29 points, to lift UNLV to an 89-88 victory over the Horned Frogs.

Adams is 15-0 in his career against teams from Texas, including 7-0 against TCU.

“Wink looks forward to playing in Texas, and I enjoy seeing his family out there also,” Rebels senior Rene Rougeau said.

Adams said his cheering section today will include his mother, grandmother, brother, uncles, cousins and friends from Houston.

“There’s a lot of people coming,” he said. “Since it’s my last game in Texas, I’ve got to make it a good one.”

NOTES — UNLV is 5-0 away from home this season, 4-0 on the road and 1-0 on a neutral court. … Christian previously coached at Kent State, which lost to the Rebels 71-58 in the first round of last year’s NCAA Tournament.

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

UNLV AT TEXAS CHRISTIAN

RECORD: UNLV 13-2, 1-0 MWC

COACH: Lon Kruger (104-44, fifth season; 422-277 overall, 23rd season)

PROBABLE STARTERS:

Player Pos. Ht. Ppg.

Joe Darger F 6-7 8.5

Darris Santee F 6-8 7.3

Rene Rougeau G 6-6 11.3

Wink Adams G 6-0 13.1

Oscar Bellfield G 6-2 7.1

RECORD: TCU 10-5, 1-0 MWC

COACH: Jim Christian (10-5, first season; 148-63 overall, seventh season)

PROBABLE STARTERS:

Player Pos. Ht. Ppg.

Edvinas Ruzgas F 6-6 11.3

Kevin Langford F 6-8 13.5

Zvonko Buljan C 6-9 11.9

Ronnie Moss G 6-2 9.6

Jason Ebie G 6-1 5.3

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