Budinger added 11 rebounds for a double-double, Williams added nine boards and Shakur handed out 11 assists. Radenovic led all scorers with 27, Williams scored 24 and freshman Budinger hit for 15.
Wendell White led UNLV with 18 points, backed up by Kevin Kruger’s 17. Joe Darger put in 11.
UA led by 27 at the 9:45 mark, but UNLV chipped away with a couple of runs in the final six minutes.
Williams hit 10 of 15 shots including all four from three-point range, while Budinger and Radenovic were a little cool from outside but combined to hit 15 of 28 shots, plenty on strong moves to the basket and also off a combined six offensive boards.
The Cats went on a 14-4 run in the first five minutes to give it a 20-point lead, 60-40, scoring on back-door cuts, open jumpers and fastbreak moves. The run was fueled by tighter defensive pressure and a more relentless style on offense.
The teams traded points early and neither club could build a real lead for most of the first half, trading plays against UA’s zone and the Rebels’ man-to-man defense.
Michael Umeh hit an open three-pointer to start the scoring moments into the game.
Wendell White hit a bucket for the Rebels but Radenovic kept UA a point back with a layup and a minute later gave UA its first lead at 9-8 with a pair of free throws. The Cats got a pair of defensive stops before the first media timeout at 15:29.
White came back with another inside move to make it 10-9, then Jawann McClellan hit two free throws to put UA back on top 11-10. Budinger fought for an offensive rebound and close-in jumper to make it 13-10, but Adams knocked down a 10-footer in the lane to make it 13-12,
Marcus Williams scored his first points with a three-pointer to make it 17-12 ?- but White answered with a dunk on the break at the other end, his eighth point in the game.
Daniel Dillon hit a three off the bench to give UA a little space, 20-14, but UA blew a steal possession and
Kevin Kruger drove for a layup and then a minute later UNLV’s Marcus Lawrence scored from three-point range to cut it to 25-21, then put in two more on a goal-tending call on UA’s Jordan Hill to make it a two point game, 25-23 at 7:47.
Budinger’s work on the boards kept UA even in for much of the half, with five toward UA’s total of 12 at that timeout and eight total in the first half. Radenovic (16) and Williams (14) combined for 30 points in the period.
The Cats made their first real move inside the final five minutes after UNLV had regained the lead on a fastbreak with a layup by Gaston Essengue.
The teams traded some hoops for a few more minutes, including Shakur’s sixth assist on a dunk by Williams. But UNLV got another Essengue layup and another White bucket and took a 33-29 lead before Radenovic scored a three-point play inside to make it a one-point game.
Williams hit a put-back to put UA on top, 34-33, at the final first-half media timeout inside four minutes, and the Cats got the ball
Ivan Radenovic (Photos by Luke Adams)
Radenovic scored his 16th point at the line with 90 seconds left, and Williams hit a drop-step banker to make it 43-33 with 30 seconds left. Kruger answered with a three-pointer to cut it to seven and UA called timeout for their last play, which resulted in a Williamss’ three-pointer at the buzzer.