Utah Utes basketball: Utes can’t stop Rebels and their rebounding Rougeau

first_imgE-mail: [email protected] LAS VEGAS — Six days after taking UNLV to the final minute on the Rebels’ homecourt, the Utah basketball team did it again Friday night in the Mountain West Conference semifinals.The result was the same, however, as the Rebels defeated the Utes 61-55 at the Thomas & Mack Center, sending the Rebels (25-7) into the finals today against BYU at 5 p.m. MDT (Versus-TV).The Utes (17-14) will head home today and see if their season will continue next week in either the NIT or the new College Basketball Invitational.Luke Nevill led the Utes with 15 points but was held below his 24-point average of the two previous games against the Rebels.Lawrence Borha and Johnnie Bryant both added 10 points. Kim Tillie and Shaun Green each had seven rebounds for the Utes.Curtis Terry, who burned the Utes with 22 points in last week’s game, led the Rebels again, scoring 20 points along with Wink Adams.The player who really killed the Utes was 6-foot-6 forward Rene Rougeau, who, besides scoring 12 points, pulled down 11 rebounds, six off the offensive glass, including two big ones with the Rebels clinging to a two-point lead with less than two-and-a-half minutes left.Trailing 51-49 just before the two-minute mark, the Utes allowed the Rebels to get two offensive rebounds by Rougeau.With a third try, Terry drove down the right side for a layup to give the Rebels a four-point lead.”That was A-No.1 on our board — to cut Rougeau out, but we didn’t get it down,” said Utah Jim Boylen. “We played good defense, and I thought we made good adjustments from the game last week.””We just couldn’t find Rougeau,” added Green.The Utes hung close and cut the lead to three at 58-55 on a Shaun Green putback. Terry made one of two from the line, but Bryant’s 3-pointer bounced off the rim and Adams added two more free throws for the final margin. The Rebels sank 8-of-10 free throws in the final minute.After trailing 25-24 at halftime, the Utes took a 32-31 lead on an inside shot by Nevill, only to see the Rebels re-take the lead on an inside shot by Rougeau and a 3-pointer by Terry.The Utes came back to take a 41-39 lead with 9:50 left, only to see the Rebels run off seven straight points for a 46-41 lead with 7:02 left. It was 48-45 when Riverton’s Joe Darger made his first basket of the game with a 19-footer from the left angle than hit the rim, bounced up and in.The Rebels took a 25-24 lead into halftime despite trailing most of the half. Utah led by as many as eight but could only manage two points over the final 8:56 of the half.The Utes got off to a decent start for a change and were leading 5-4 when Nevill and Bryant came into the came at the 16:09 mark.After Terry gave the Rebels an 8-7 lead, the Utes went on a 9-2 run to take a 17-10 lead and pushed the lead to 20-12 on a Tille jumper. They still led 22-15 with 8:56 left after Borha added a 12- foot jumper after previously sinking a pair of 3-pointers.However, then the Utes went ice cold, missing their next seven shots, and they didn’t score for more than six minutes allowing the Rebels came back and tied the game at 22.Utah went back ahead on a Tillie inside shot, but Terry knocked down an NBA-length 3-pointer to put the Rebels up 25-24 at the half. GAME NOTES: The Utes beat the Rebels 81-73 in Salt Lake 81-73 before losing 70-63 last weekend … The all-time series was tied at 19-19 coming into the game … The Utes and Rebels have met six times in conference tournament play with UNLV holding a 4-2 edge. They met five times in six years (2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007) with the Utes winning in ’04 and ’05 when the tournament was held in Denver. In games played in Las Vegas, the Utes are 0-4 against the Rebels … Last year UNLV beat the Utes 80-54 in a first-round game. last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *