Agony was etched in senior Rene Rougeau’s expressions after another defeat, UNLV’s second in two days on its home court.
If the first loss was supposed to be a mere wake-up call, what happened Saturday was a nightmare.
"I’ve never felt like this before," Rougeau said. "It’s very surprising and very frustrating at the same time. The guys are definitely sad in the locker room."
The Rebels, accustomed to dominance at the Thomas & Mack Center for the past three seasons, were upset again, this time 67-65 by Cincinnati.
The thrill that followed UNLV’s 5-0 start is gone.
The Rebels (5-2) had their 19-game home winning streak stopped Friday in a 73-55 loss to California, and Saturday’s loss in the consolation round of the Global Sports Classic was more misery.
It was the first time since February 2005 that UNLV lost back-to-back games at the Thomas & Mack.
Yancy Gates and Deonta Vaughn each scored 16 points for the Bearcats, who trailed 31-27 at halftime and made a late run to stun the crowd of 11,080.
The Rebels trailed by two when coach Lon Kruger called timeout with 15 seconds to go. He set up a play for senior guard Wink Adams, who drove hard to the basket and was fouled with 11 seconds left.
"That was the first look, for Wink to attack the rim if he had the opportunity. He had some other options," Kruger said.
Adams, a career 79 percent free-throw shooter, left the first shot off the front of the rim.
"It surprised me because when it left my fingers, it felt pretty good, but it came up short," Adams said. "Usually I shoot free throws pretty good."
Adams made the second shot to pull UNLV within 65-64. With 6.6 seconds left, the Rebels fouled Mike Williams, who made both free throws to put the Bearcats (5-1) up three.
After UNLV’s Tre’Von Willis hit 1 of 2 free throws, Cincinnati’s Anthony McClain missed a free throw and Rougeau launched a 65-foot shot that was short at the buzzer.
"It was a much better effort (than Friday). I liked the fight much better," Kruger said. "At critical stages, they knocked down a couple shots."
Joe Darger’s 3-pointer with 4:41 to go put the Rebels ahead 59-57, but the Bearcats responded with an 8-0 run highlighted by Alvin Mitchell’s two closely guarded 3-pointers.
"Those were two big-time 3s," Williams said. "Late in the game, shots like that do wonders for a team."
Darger and Willis each scored 18 points to lead UNLV. Darger shot 6-for-9 from 3-point range, making five in the second half.
Adams’ play was a rare negative. He shot 2-for-11 and was held to five points. He shot 3-for-14 Friday.
"It’s very frustrating," he said. "I’ve never been in a slump like this."
The Rebels must regroup on the road — they play at Fresno State on Wednesday and UNR on Saturday — and getting Adams turned around is vital.
"It’s definitely not good to have Wink in a slump," Darger said. "He’s such a huge part of this team and our offense."
• Florida State 80, California 77 — Toney Douglas poured in 28 points as the Seminoles (7-0) beat the Golden Bears (5-1) in the title game of the Global Sports Classic.
Jerome Randle, who led Cal’s victory over UNLV, made 16 of 18 free throws and finished with 26 points.
• North Carolina A&T 72, Coastal Carolina 60 — Reserve Dwane Joshua scored 21 points in 22 minutes to lift the Aggies (4-3) over the Chanticleers.
• Western Illinois 62, Texas-Pan American 60 — The Leathernecks, led by David DuBois with 18 points, erased a 10-point deficit in the second half to top the Broncs.
Contact reporter Matt Youmans at email@example.com or (702) 387-2907.Audio slide show CINCINNATI 67 UNLV 65 KEY: Wink Adams, held to five points, missed 1 of 2 free throws with 11 seconds remaining and the Rebels trailing by two. NEXT: UNLV at Fresno State, 7 p.m. Wednesday, LV One (Cox 19), KWWN-AM (1100)