|Defense shut down UNLV in the late going|
LAS VEGAS-- The Wildcats, who never led until the very late going, clamped down their defense on host UNLV and took the school's first-ever victory in Thomas & Mack Center Wednesday night, 52-49.
Jordan Hill had 16 points and 19 rebounds as No. 19 Arizona rallied from an eight-point second-half deficit. No basket was more meaningful than Jawann McClellan's three-pointer with 24 seconds left, to give UA a four-point cushion.
Arizona played tough in the waning minutes and UNLV did not score from the field in the final 4:16. The Rebels made one free throw in that span.
The Wildcats (8-2) trailed 40-32 with 13:10 to play when Nic Wise and Jerryd Bayless connected on consecutive 3-pointers to cut the deficit to two. The field goals broke a string of nine straight misses by the Wildcats, who shot 34 percent for the game.
UNLV (7-3) scored the next five points and held the lead until the game's final three minutes. That's when Wise picked up a loose ball at midcourt and went the distance for an acrobatic layup with 3:08 to play to tie the game at 48.
Wise, who finished with nine points and seven assists, gave the Wildcats their first lead at 49-48 lead when he connected on one of two free throws with 1:18 left. UA never trailed again.
Jawann McClellan's 3-pointer with 26 seconds to play put Arizona up by four.
McClellan finished with 12 points for Arizona, while Bayless had eight.
Wink Adams had 19 points for the Rebels, who scored four points over the game's final five minutes, while Joe Darger added 13.
The Wildcats missed nine of their first 11 shots, but the 6-foot-10 Hill was consistent throughout as he muscled his way inside against UNLV's lineup that didn't feature a starter taller than 6-6.
Hill had 23 points and 14 rebounds in Arizona's 78-72 overtime victory over Illinois on Dec. 8. The 19 boards against the Runnin' Rebels was a career high and part of UA's decisive 48-31?edge on the glass.
His last rebound off a Curtis Terry three-point attempt came with 3.8 seconds left and sent him to the line for a one-and-one, which he missed. After a time out by the Rebels,?Terry took another long range shot that missed?as time expired.
Arizona snapped a streak where in UNL had beaten the Wildcats six consecutive times at home, the last two of those in Thomas & Mack, where UNLV has a 331-68 mark including the game tonight against UA.
NOTES... The 48 boards were a season high for UA, as were Hill's 19 and Chase Budinger's nine... The teams combined to shoot 33 percent from the floor, one reason for the 79 rebounds... UA had some turnover trouble again, with 15, nine of those in the first half. UNLV had only six and the extra possessions fueled a game-long Rebels lead... UA took a season-high 24 three-point shots and needed every one of the seven mades, notably a pair by Wise and McClellan late in the going... McClellan hit the floor hard late in the game after a made basket, and left the floor momentarily, but still returned swiftly and was credited with just under 40 minutes of playing time, his career high... In its last two games UA has committed only 20 personal fouls, 11 of those vs. UNLV. The game was called by officials in the manner of late-season physical tournament play. With Hill working inside, as frequently UA's only viable option on a poor-shooting night, UNLV was whistled for 14 fouls. He took a game-high seven fouls shots, making four on UA's worst night from the line (9-for-16) of the year... Hill's 11 defensive rebounds were two more than UNLV's team had on that end of the floor (7 offensive boards). That denial of many second-chance points by Runnin' Rebel shooters was a big key for the Cats...