Wallace rushes to rescue

When called off the bench, Kendall Wallace usually fills a complementary role for UNLV. But he stepped into a much different situation Tuesday night.

Wallace was summoned in an emergency.

As senior Wink Adams, the Rebels’ leading scorer, rolled on the floor in agony with an injury, it was obvious somebody would need to play a bigger role.

"I think everyone knew once Wink went down, we all had to pick it up on offense and defense," Wallace said.

And as it turned out, Wallace was the unsuspecting star. The sophomore guard scored all of his career-high 15 points in Adams’ absence and helped lift UNLV to a 73-60 victory over Southern Utah.

"Kendall came in and really took advantage of some opportunities," coach Lon Kruger said. "He’s playing with as much confidence right now as at any point in his career."

Wallace hit 5 of 7 shots, including 3 of 5 3-pointers, in a season-high 23 minutes.

"It felt great that Coach has that much confidence in me," Wallace said.

The Rebels (11-2) won their sixth straight game, and will get some needed time off before playing at Louisville on Dec. 31.

Adams’ return to good health tops Kruger’s wish list for Christmas. Adams left the game because of an apparent lower abdominal strain with 10:21 left in the first half.

The injury appeared to be serious, and the crowd of 10,528 fell silent as Adams was unable to walk and had to be helped off the Thomas & Mack Center court.

Adams was dribbling and backing into the lane when he hit the floor suddenly without being touched. He grimaced while athletic trainer Dave Tomchek came to his assistance.

"I did a spin move and I stepped wrong," Adams said. "I heard something pop in my lower abdomen and I just dropped. It was unbelievable pain. Hopefully it’s not torn ligaments."

Adams was in street clothes when he returned to the bench during the second half. He said his abdomen was sore after the game, but he hopes to return for the game against Louisville.

Kruger said Adams will be re-evaluated today.

"I haven’t seen Wink in that much pain," senior Rene Rougeau said. "It was definitely a scary moment."

Rougeau, who played 31 minutes despite a bad cough, shot 7-for-8 and finished with 16 points and seven rebounds.

"I can’t wait to go home and go to sleep," Rougeau said while shivering. "I’m not feeling too good."

UNLV trailed 16-15 when Adams exited, but they charged back for a 39-25 halftime lead after Wallace and Joe Darger each his a 3-pointer in the final minute. Rougeau shot 6-for-6 and was the high scorer with 12 points at the half.

Wallace hit another 3-pointer at the 8:45 mark, Darger followed with a 3 and Wallace made a jumper to extend the Rebels’ lead to 59-41 with 7:17 remaining.

The Thunderbirds (3-9) closed the gap to 62-54 on John Clifford’s layup with 2:52 to go, but Darger answered with his third 3-pointer.

Darger and freshman point guard Oscar Bellfield each finished with 11 points. Bellfield also had eight assists.

"Southern Utah was a very scrappy team," Rougeau said. "We were up 18 and they came back."

Adams played almost 10 minutes before his injury and went scoreless for the first time in 115 career games.

Dave Marek led Southern Utah with 19 points and Davis Baker had 16.

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

UNLV 73

Southern Utah 60

S. UTAH Min FG-A FT-A R A PF TP

Clifford 40 4-7 5-6 8 3 1 13

Allen 22 1-3 0-0 1 0 1 3

Marek 40 6-14 4-4 1 1 3 19

Josserand 38 1-3 0-0 2 8 5 3

Baker 40 6-14 2-2 6 0 1 16

Davis 1 0-0 0-0 0 0 1 0

Nielson 19 2-3 2-2 4 0 2 6

TOTALS 200 20-44 13-14 23 12 14 60

Field goals–45.5%. Free throws–92.9%.

Three-point goals–7-17 (Marek 3-6, Baker 2-4, Josserand 1-3, Allen 1-3, Nielson 0-1). Team rebounds–1. Blocked shots–0. Turnovers–16 (Baker 4, Josserand 4, Nielson 2, Clifford 2, Allen 2, Marek). Steals–7 (Baker 2, Clifford 2, Josserand 2, Marek).

UNLV Min FG-A FT-A R A PF TP

Santee 17 3-5 0-0 2 0 1 6

Darger 30 4-11 0-1 2 0 3 11

Bellfield 33 3-6 3-4 4 8 0 11

Adams 10 0-1 0-0 0 1 1 0

Rougeau 31 7-8 2-2 7 2 1 16

Wallace 23 5-7 2-3 3 3 0 15

Rutledge 17 0-1 2-2 1 0 1 2

Hoffman 1 1-1 0-0 0 0 0 2

Massamba 14 1-2 0-0 3 1 3 2

Mitchell 5 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0

Willis 19 2-5 4-5 4 1 3 8

TOTALS 200 26-48 13-17 7-27 16 13 73

Field goals–54.2%. Free throws–76.5%.

Three-point goals–8-20 (Wallace 3-5, Darger 3-9, Bellfield 2-4, Willis 0-1, Rutledge 0-1). Team rebounds–1. Blocked shots–3 (Rougeau 3). Turnovers–13 (Willis 4, Darger 2, Bellfield 2, Adams 2, Rougeau, Massamba, Wallace). Steals–7 (Bellfield 3, Rougeau, Wallace, Adams, Rutledge).

A–10,528. Officials–Tom O’Neill, Lonnie Dixon, Kevin Brill. Technical fouls–None.

Southern Utah 25 35 — 60

UNLV 39 34 — 73

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