Archive for Sunday, March 23, 2008

Fouls both good, bad for Rebels

UNLV scores 27 from stripe, but two players foul out

March 23, 2008

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2008 NCAA Tournament

— The officials may have been out of breath.

Whistling 46 fouls in 40 minutes of basketball is a good workout of the lungs. In the end, it helped - and hurt - Nevada-Las Vegas in a 75-56 loss to Kansas University in the NCAA Tournament's second round.

"That's just the way the game goes sometimes," UNLV senior Curtis Terry said. "Fouls are going to be called."

Where it helped: UNLV's awful shooting (26.7 percent on the night) didn't cripple its chances as early as it could have. The Runnin' Rebels were 27 of 34 from the foul line. The charity stripe was the source of almost half of UNLV's points, a startling percentage.

Where it hurt: The Rebels often were whistled, too, and two starters fouled out with plenty of time on the clock. Three-point threat Joe Darger picked up his fifth with 9:33 left, and Rene Rougeau said adios with 6:49 to play.

"We just didn't have enough bodies," said Darger, who finished with eight points. "We're not a very deep team, and we had a lot of foul trouble. We couldn't keep up with Kansas' deep bench."

When Darger left, Kansas was leading, 53-42. UNLV's sails went limp, and the main source of points seemed to be Wink Adams driving, getting contact and shooting free throws.

It was no way to claw back into the game against the Midwest region's top seed.

"They can come out and defend the guards," said Adams, who had 25 points, 15 from the free-throw line. "Tonight their length was very effective against us and kind of had our shooting percentage down."

UNLV (27-8) had just four field goals in the second half and only two after Darger left.

Otherwise, UNLV hurt where UNLV expected to be hurt. Playing with nobody taller than 6-foot-8, the Runnin' Rebels were outscored, 38-10, in points in the paint. Though some were the traditional feeds inside to KU's Darrell Arthur or Darnell Jackson, the Jayhawks had success with guards cutting through traffic and attacking the rim.

But again, the fouls might have helped make that possible.

"With us being in foul trouble, it was hard for us to be real aggressive toward them, cut them off or try and block shots, try to take charges," forward Matt Shaw said. "In the back of our minds, we think if we get this foul, we might foul out. I played with four fouls the majority of the second half."

He wasn't alone. In the end, Kansas (33-3) proved to be superior in talent and better equipped to handle the quick whistle - two ingredients helpful toward a deep NCAA Tournament run.

"We played through it the best we could," Terry said. "But it just caught up with us tonight."

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