first_imgUtah-UNLV boxscoreLAS VEGAS — That frigid Arctic air that reached all the way to southern Nevada this week must have affected the Utah and UNLV basketball teams Wednesday night.Both teams were ice-cold from all over the court, but the Rebels were less frosty, warming up enough to escape with an ugly 67-54 victory over the Utes at the Thomas & Mack Center.The Utes ended up shooting an abysmal, season-low 29.8 percent from the field, 30 percent from 3-point range and an atrocious 56 percent from the free-throw line.The Rebels weren’t much better, finishing with 36.9 percent from the field, 16.7 percent from 3-point range and 63 percent from the line. However, the ball went in the hoop enough for the Rebs to improve to 17-5 on the season and 5-3 in Mountain West Conference play, while Utah fell to 10-12 overall and 3-5 in MWC play.”I thought we played very hard,” said Utah coach Jim Boylen. “I thought we had our opportunities. We held these guys to 67 in their building. But we miss 14 wide-open 3s, 11 free throws and lose by 13.””It was not our night shooting the ball, from the free-throw line or the 3-point line … anywhere,” said Utah freshman forward J.J. O’Brien. “It just wasn’t our night to make shots.”Besides the poor shooting, the Utes were hurt by turnovers — 17 compared to 7 for UNLV — and interior defense as the Rebel centers combined for 29 points and 25 rebounds against Utah’s inside duo of David Foster and Jason Washburn.For the second game in a row, the Utes allowed an opposing player to have a career game, as redshirt sophomore Quintrell Thomas, a transfer from Kansas, had 15 points and 16 rebounds in 21 minutes of action. His previous career highs were 14 and 8, respectively.”We didn’t do a very good job on him,” Boylen said. “Their centers outplayed our centers. They got 25 rebounds from the center position (compared to nine for Utah) and that hurt us.”The Rebels’ other center, Carlos Lopez, came off the bench to score 14 points and grab nine boards. The only other Rebel to get in double figures was Chace Stanback with 11 points.”It was a good win,” said UNLV coach Lon Kruger. “Quintrell and Carlos were keys inside and a big part of the win.”For Utah, Will Clyburn had his eighth double-double of the season with 17 points and 12 rebounds, but he only made 5-of-14 from the field and, for the second straight game had six turnovers. Josh Watkins added 15 points while O’Brien had nine points and 10 rebounds.Utah had played well in its first three MWC road games, defeating Wyoming and TCU by double digits and losing in the final minute at Air Force. But they were out of this game right from the beginning.The Utes got off to a slow start, falling behind 10-4 in the first four minutes. O’Brien picked up two quick fouls and left in favor of little-used Antonio DiMaria, who was soon replaced by Chris Hines as the Utes went with a smaller lineup most of the rest of the half.Utah came back to tie the score at 12 on a Clyburn 3-pointer and had a chance to take the lead against the cold-shooting Rebels, who missed seven straight shots. However, the Utes missed five straight of their own and the Rebels pushed the lead to nine at 27-18 with 3:45 left and 33-24 at halftime.In the second half, the Utes went 61/2 minutes before scoring a field goal and soon trailed by as many as 18 at 50-32 with just under 10 minutes left. They made one of their usual comebacks and pulled with 11 at 62-51, but it was too little, too late.The Utes’ next game is at home against Air Force on Saturday at the Huntsman Center.GAME NOTES: With Wednesday’s win, the Rebels went ahead 23-22 in the all-time series between the two teams. … The Utes won the rebounding battle 48-43. … Washburn fouled out with 6:08 left in the game, the sixth time he’s fouled out this year, and finished with just two points and one rebound. … Chris Kupets, who came into the game leading the MWC in 3-point shooting at 59.1 percent, was a woeful 0-for-6 from 3-point range and 1-of-9 from the field overall. … The Utes and Rebels meet again March 5 in Salt Lake.e-mail: [email protected]last_img

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