Thirty years later, Robert Smith still is automatic from the free-throw line.
Smith made two free throws with seven seconds left to give the Red team a 74-72 victory over the White in the UNLV Alumni/Legends Game at the Thomas & Mack Center on Tuesday.
“The first one felt good and the second one was kind of shaky, but they both went all net,” he said.
Smith was a senior point guard for the 1976-77 Rebels, who reached the Final Four in Atlanta. They lost to North Carolina by one point in the semifinals and defeated UNC-Charlotte in the consolation game to finish 29-3.
Smith holds school records for free-throw percentage in a season (.925, 1976-77) and career (.878, 1974-77).
“I run three to five miles every morning,” said Smith, who coaches AAU teams at the Andre Agassi Boys & Girls Club.
Chris Richardson scored 15 points and Smith 12 for the Red team, which also included Freddie Banks, Patrick Savoy and H Waldman.
Richardson, who played at UNLV from 1998 to 2002, dunked twice and showed why he plays for the Globetrotters.
After Evric Gray missed a 3-pointer for the White team, Smith was fouled on a fast break and snapped the tie with his free throws.
Anderson Hunt and David Butler, teammates on the 1990 NCAA championship team, led the White team.
The 40-minute game was played with a running clock, and the crowd was sparse, but the former Rebels put on a decent show.
“It’s just good seeing everybody,” Smith said of the gathering of about 50 ex-Rebels. “As you get older, you don’t see the guys a lot. It’s a lot of fun seeing the faces and recalling the memories of all the guys.”
• TEAMS HONORED — At halftime of UNLV’s exhibition game against Washburn, a “FOURever Runnin’ Rebels” celebration honored the 1977, 1987 and 1991 Final Four teams. Also honored was the 1967-68 team coached by Rolland Todd that reached the NCAA College Division finals.
A ceremony recognizing the 20th year since the Rebels’ 1990 national championship team is planned for next year.
• TARK OUT OF TOWN — Former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian showed up at the Legends & Friends Classic golf tournament Monday, but he was absent Tuesday because he was scheduled to give a speech in Canton, Ohio.
Tarkanian has attended recent practices and said he’s impressed with the Rebels.
“I like this team. It’s definitely the most talented team (coach Lon Kruger) has had since he’s been here,” Tarkanian said.