On a night where neither team shot the ball well and had squandered enough opportunities to win, it was a far more painful reckoning for the side that ultimately lost.
That would be UNLV. The Rebels didn’t take care of the little things you need to do in order to win, particular in a rivalry game. Twenty-three percent shooting from the 3-point arc and 48 percent shooting from the free-throw line was enough to seal UNLV’s fate in falling 82-79 in overtime to Nevada Wednesday in front of an announced 11,607 at the Thomas & Mack Center.
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“We didn’t do the small things you have to do to win this game,” Rebels coach T.J. Otzelberger said. “Everything matters.”
Whether it was missing shots, failing to execute its offense in critical junctures or giving up a bucket at the other end on a defensive breakdown, UNLV was unable to hold off Nevada, which rode the scoring and rebounding of Jalen Harris to improve to 9-5 in the Mountain West (16-10 overall).
Harris was just 9 of 21 from the field. But he was one of the few players on either side to make his free throws, making 11 of 15 and finishing with 29 points along with grabbing 14 rebounds.
“He’s a heck of a player,” UNLV’s Marvin Coleman said of Harris, who averages 21.2 points. “We tried to stay with him but he’s real talented.”
The Rebels had battled back from an 11-point first-half deficit to lead by as many as six early in the second half. But the inability to make shots, particularly from the line, proved too much as Otzelberger’s team fell to 7-6 in conference play, 12-14 overall.
“That hurt us,” Coleman said of the Rebels’ 12 of 25 performance at the line. “We lost by three. That was our Achilles heel.”
Otzelberger said: “We’re not a bad free-throw shooting team. But we went 0-6 at the start and we missed some late. You can’t leave 13 points on the table.”
The Wolf Pack wasn’t a whole let better, making just 18 of 28 of its free throws. Nevada also was a miserable 6 of 25 from the 3-point arc. Add in 13 turnovers and it resulted in a close game.
UNLV’s Bryce Hamilton forced OT with his running bank shot with 27 seconds left in regulation, tying the game at 74-74. Hamilton would finish with 23 points and nine rebounds. But in the extra period, he was kept off the scoresheet and with a chance to pull even down 81-79, Coleman was unable to get his team into the set they wanted and Hamilton’s 3-point try for the lead with eight seconds left was off the mark.
“I feel for our guys,” Otzelberger said. “But we have to be more attentive to every detail to come out with a win in this kind of game.”