First-year UNR coach David Carter could only chalk it up as a “learning experience.” Unfortunately for him, the lesson came against archrival UNLV.
Appearing poised for a big road win in the second half of his second game leading the Wolf Pack, Carter watched his team squander a 12-point lead down the stretch in an 88-75 loss Wednesday at the Thomas & Mack Center.
The Rebels outscored UNR 23-4 in a 6:35 span to take a 65-58 lead with 8:13 to play.
“We’re a young team, and this was a learning experience for us,” said Carter, who took over in April when Mark Fox left to coach Georgia. “We wore down. (UNLV) is a deep team, and we didn’t handle the adversity like I hoped we would.”
The Wolf Pack (1-1) led 54-42 with 14:36 left despite sophomore star forward Luke Babbitt’s offensive struggles. Brandon Fields paced UNR with 22 points.
Babbitt finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds but shot 2-for-11.
“I felt fine,” said Babbitt, who appeared winded in the first half. “My shot wasn’t falling, but we had some other guys pick me up.”
At least for a while.
UNLV coach Lon Kruger made a small lineup even smaller by inserting guards Anthony Marshall and Justin Hawkins. They helped spearhead the comeback by repeatedly beating the UNR defense off the dribble for uncontested layups.
Carter went to a zone defense. He called two timeouts. He substituted. Nothing worked.
“They had all the momentum at that point,” Carter said. “By the time we were able to get things under control, it was too late.
“We probably played 30, 32 good minutes, which is encouraging. But to come in here and win, you have to do it for 40 minutes. That’s something our guys need to take from a game like this.”
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