Stevens: Gary Scores 26 But Lobos Fall To UNLV 77-74 In Overtime
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  02/23/2011
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Feb. 23, 2011

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Lobo Men's Basketball - In The Pit
UNLV 77, Lobos 74 (OT)
Up Next: Lobos at TCU, Saturday

By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer / GoLobos.com

The Pit woke up. The Lobos woke up. New Mexico's Dairese Gary was a nightmare for the UNLV Rebels. But the Rebs didn't roll over and go to sleep.

New Mexico rallied from a 15-point deficit in the second half, almost won in regulation off a Gary jumper in the closing seconds, but fell 77-74 to UNLV in overtime Wednesday night in The Pit.

"We have had five games that have literally come down to the last play of the game," said Lobo coach Steve Alford. "It's very frustrating, but that's basketball.

"That was a great college basketball game. Our kids played really, really hard. We are just trying to find ways to make those game-winning plays late."

Gary, a senior, put the Lobos on his broad shoulders most of the night scoring a career-high and game-high 26 points. He also dished out six assists and came up with three steals. He went 10-of-15 from the floor.

"Dairese makes good play after good play after play," said Alford. "He has so much on his plate. He tweaked an ankle in the first half, but you have to carry him off.

"Our guys have fought and they continue to work extremely hard. We have given really good effort, but we haven't been able to make that play in the last minute of a game."

Gary was joined in double figures by Drew Gordon with 15 points, Phillip McDonald with 11 and A.J. Hardeman with 11 off the bench. "I think you can see how important A.J. is to us," said Alford.

UNM shot 42.6 percent for the game, 50 percent in the second half, but 16.7 percent in overtime (1-6). Gary made UNM's first field goal attempt in OT, before the next five UNM shots failed to drop.

"We see we can play with anybody, but we have to put an entire game together," said Gary.

The Rebs got 25 points from Tre'Von Willis, 19 from Quintrell Thomas and 15 from Oscar Bellfield. Vegas shot 49.2 percent for the game and 66.7 percent in overtime. UNM won the glass battle, 37-36, behind Gordon's 14 boards. Vegas came up with 10 steals to six for UNM.

The loss dropped UNM to 17-11 overall and 5-8 in Mountain West play. UNLV creeps higher up the MWC ladder at 9-5 and is 21-7 overall.

Overtime: UNLV 10, Lobos 7
The Lobos grabbed a 69-67 lead on a Gary drive, but then the overtime period slipped away as UNM went cold from the floor. UNLV went up 74-71 when Marshall drove by McDonald for a layup. Gary got blocked on a drive and Vegas got a layup by Thomas off a Willis pass to go up 76-71.

Vegas made a major mistake with 21.6 to play after fouling Williams on a rebound after a UNLV miss. The clock stopped and UNM was at the line. Williams made both: 76-74 and UNM had a shot.

Williams fouled UNLV's Bellfield with 17.8 to play. The Reb missed the first and made the second: 77-74, just about forcing UNM to go for the trey.

UNM called time and came out to break the Vegas press. Gary drove the baseline on the right side and whipped a pass across court to McDonald on the far baseline. McDonald missed, but got his rebound and fired up shortly before the buzzer. He missed again and Vegas had the hard-fought 77-74 win.

"I didn't get a good handle on the ball, so I didn't get a good shot off like I wanted to," McDonald said of his first miss. "We just have to start finishing."

Second Half: Lobos 38, UNLV 32

The Lobos come out down by six and when a Willis trey extended UNLV's lead to 42-33, Alford called for a timeout at the 17:39 mark.

UNLV then ran to a 51-36 lead with some solid inside-outside play. The Lobos cut it to 51-42, but got called for a technical after a Williams' layup. UNLV's Willis hit two free throws off the technical, 53-41, and Vegas backed that with a field goal to go up 55-41.

Hardeman scored underneath and added a free throw: 55-44. UNM's McDonald threw in a trey off the right wing and the Lobos were down ten, again, 57-47. Pit finally woke up and stood up. Vegas called for a timeout at 11:36.

The Lobos forced a turnover and Hardeman was fouled in transition. The Lobo junior was at the line going into a break with 11:22 to play. UNM was shooting 54.5 percent in the second half at that point.

Hardeman made both his free shots: 57-49 and The Pit continued to roar. Gary drove for a layup and UNM was down by six, 57-51. The Pit got louder. Hardeman slapped away a Vegas shot and then got fouled in transition to send Vegas' Chace Stanback to the bench with five fouls. That was a huge loss for Vegas with 10:13 to play.

Hardeman converted his two free shots: 57-53 and Vegas' 15-point lead was sliced to four points. The Lobos were into it; so was The Pit. Gordon came up with a steal and Gary pounded in a trey from in front of the UNM bench. It was 57-56 and Vegas again decided to huddle up. The momentum had rolled onto the Lobos' side.

The Rebs finally got off their 57 count on a dunk by Anthony Marshall that made it 59-56. The Vegas offense that was running smooth suddenly was inconsistent and hesitant. Much of that change had to do with new-found energy in the Lobo defense - and The Pit.

Gary drove the baseline at 6:41, threw in a tough layup: 59-58. Willis penetrated for Vegas and found Oscar Bellfield alone on the baseline. He drilled the trey to produce a 62-58 UNLV gap. UNM called time at 5:39. Gordon got a follow inside to make it 62-60 and that count held up going into the 3:44 break.

Gary's pressure on Willis forced a backcourt pass and turnover from the Reb. Gary got fouled on a drive at 2:59 and both free shots: 62-all. UNLV called time at 2:54. Vegas' Brice Massamba got bumped on a drive by Hardeman. He missed both. The Lobos had a shot to take the lead. Instead, Hardeman got called for his fifth foul on a screen for Gary. Vegas had the ball at 2:11.

UNLV's Willis missed a short jumper over Gary, but Vegas' Quintrell Thomas pushed in the garbage. Gordon scored inside at the other end: 64-all. Vegas' Thomas fouled at 1:20. He made one: 65-64 to roll in the first Vegas free throw after six misses. Alford called time with 1:12 to play.

The Lobos went with a Gary drive. The Lobo senior dished off in traffic to Gordon, who scored off the glass and UNM was up 66-65. Vegas called time at 45.2. Bellfield missed a trey on the wing and Vegas put Gary at the line with 27.2 to play. Gary made one: 67-65.

Vegas' Bellfield scored on a too-easy layup to make it 67-all. UNM called time with 12.6 seconds to play. Gary threw up a running jumper in traffic and it bounced off the rim. The teams marched into a five-minute overtime.

"If we would have had a few more (defensive) stops, we could have won the game," said McDonald.

First Half: UNLV 35, Lobos 29
The Lobos got off to a good start. Vegas, too. The Lobos got two field goals and a trey from Gary to score 11 points at the 15:58 media break. The Rebs held an 11-10 lead, however, with eight points coming from Willis.

The Rebs came out of the break and ran to a 17-11 lead. The Lobos' surged back behind a power drive by Gary and a Fenton trey - his first trey in seven games. UNM forced an 18-all tie at the 11:34 media stop.

At the 7:53 break, UNLV was up 22-21 and UNM's Gordon had two fouls. UNM was shooting 43.8 percent at that point with Gary 4-of-5. UNLV was firing at a 53.3 percent clip with 13 points from Willis, who was 5-of-5. UNM was up on the boards, 11-7.

Vegas got on a little run and jumped up 29-23 at the 4:50 break. Vegas used a Thomas turnover to score inside and took a 31-23 lead into a 3:42 break. Gary had 11 points for UNM and Willis was still at 13. The Rebs ended up with a 35-29 halftime lead.