Jasper three gives No. 24 UNLV a double-overtime win over Arizona
TUCSON, Ariz. – UNLV had a big question facing it Wednesday night. Could the 24th-ranked Runnin’ Rebels win away from Thomas & Mack Center, where they started the season with five straight wins?
They could, even if they had to go an extra 10 minutes to do it.
Derrick Jasper hit a 3-pointer with 1:39 left in the second overtime to help UNLV beat Arizona 74-72.
“It was good for us to go on the road and experience all those kinds of late-game situations against a very good program here,” UNLV coach Lon Kruger said. “We couldn’t get more out of an early season game. The win is a bonus.”
Jasper’s 3 tied the game at 70. After Arizona sophomore Kyle Fogg missed a contested driving layup with 28 seconds left, TreVon Willis made two free throws to give the Runnin’ Rebels (6-0) the lead for good.
Matt Shaw made one free throw to make it 73-70 and Arizona’s Nic Wise raced down court but was fouled so he couldn’t get off a 3-point attempt to tie. Wise hit both free throws to make it 73-72 with 9 seconds left.
Kendall Wallace hit the second of two free throws to make it 74-72, and Wise’s last shot was blocked by Justin Hawkins as time expired.
“Anytime you go into double overtime, you see everybody just step it up and that’s what happened tonight,” said Jasper, who finished with 12 points and seven rebounds. “I saw a little bit of miscommunication among the Arizona players at the end and they just left me wide open.”
Jasper’s 3 was one of only five the Rebels were able to hit. They went 5 of 26 from 3-point range. Arizona shot no better from beyond the arc as it hit just 4 of 22.
Willis had 25 points for UNLV, while freshman Derrick Williams led the Wildcats (3-3) with 28 points.
“A monster,” Kruger said of Williams. “Every time we seemed to need a stop he got an and-one (opportunity).”
Willis hit a driving layup with 50.2 seconds left in the first overtime to give UNLV a 63-61 lead. But Jamelle Horne followed with a 5-foot bank shot to tie it with 29 seconds to go. UNLV called a timeout to set up the final shot but Willis missed a 6-footer.
UNLV shot 39.7 percent for the game while Arizona shot 36.5 percent.
“They definitely tested us on defense,” said Arizona coach Sean Miller, whose biggest concern has been his team’s defense because of its youth and inexperience. “We are improving and I think that we couldn’t have defended the ball as well 10 days ago. This is our fourth game in a row like this, with this kind of intensity. There will be more games like this as the season goes on.”
It was Arizona’s second overtime game in the last three and the third in four games decided by five points or fewer.
“We are going to have a lot of games where there is absolutely no room for error,” Miller said.
Arizona got a scare with 3:52 left in the second overtime when Wise went down after driving to the basket. He stayed on the court for a minute and was taken out but returned to the game after the next play.
Wallace hit a 15-foot fadeaway with 1:13 left in regulation to give UNLV a 54-53 lead. But Wise followed with two free throws on Arizona’s next possession to tie it with 54 seconds left.
UNLV called a timeout with 34.9 seconds left in regulation and 16 seconds left on the shot clock. UNLV’s strategy unraveled when Oscar Bellfield hurried a 3-pointer at the shot-clock buzzer. Arizona wasn’t able to capitalize on the miss when Wise missed a 3-pointer with 2 seconds left to send the game into overtime.
“We made some plays down the stretch,” Kruger said, “and in the end, they still had a chance to get a 3 and win it. That’s what these kinds of games come down to, one basket here and there.”
The game ends a four-game, home-and-home series between the schools.
It was the second-lowest scoring game in the recent series. Two years ago, Arizona won 52-49 in Las Vegas.
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