Three days after the UNLV Runnin' Rebels came from 13 points down at halftime to down the almost invincible BYU Cougars on their home court, The Comeback Kids did it again today in front of over 15,000 frenzied fans at The Thomas and Mack Center with another come from behind victory against the Runnin' Utes from the University of Utah by a score of 75-65.
Once again the Rebels came out very flat in the first half and fell behind the Utes by as many as 14 points. If not for the overall outstanding play of Tre'Von Willis including two 3's in the last 2 minutes of the first half, the deficit could have been considerably more than the 8 point Utah lead at halftime.
Tre'Von, the Sophomore transfer from Memphis has improved in every game since the start of the season. Today he had a career high 22 points in the 34 minutes he was on the floor. Shooting 50% from the floor and 80% (4-5) from the charity line, Tre'Von also had 6 assists and 3 steals in his absolute best performance yet.
Wink Adams coming off his brilliant 22 point 8 rebound and 8-10 from the line against BYU Wednesday night, provided the necessary spark to lead the Rebel comeback in the second half.
During a five minute period, Wink hit three staight jumpers and sank 4 free throws to bring the Rebels back into the game. Wink finished with 14 points and 4 assists and is showing no signs of the injury that sidelined him earlier this year.
Once again during the second half the defense turned up the heat holding the Utes to 27 points while outscoring them by 18. Turnovers caused by the defense led to many easy transition points for the Rebels.
In particular, the Rebels kept Luke Nevil, Utah's answer to Sasquatch away from under the basket rotating Joe Darger, Darris Santee and Brice Massamba against 7' 2'' Senior who led the Utes with 14 points and 7 rebounds.
The Rebels have had the Utah's number over the past several seasons winning 7 out of the last eight but rest assured the Utes will have revenge on it's mind when the Rebels visit Salt Lake City on Wednesday Feb 25th.
These last two wins against who many consider the two best teams to challenge the Rebels for bragging rights in the Mountain West Conference, must have very pleasing to Coach Kruger in that the Rebels have shown that they can come from behind but he also must be concerned about two straight poor first half performances.
Very few teams in the NCAA are capable of putting 40 minutes of all out offense and defense. These games can just as easily work against a team if they think they can turn on a switch game after game and come out on top.
The next test, a week from today, will come against The Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. This is a team the Rebels should easily handle but the same was said about Colorado State. The Rebels have to stay focused and get out of the gate in the first half the same way they have in the second half in the last two games.