Coach's son helps UNLV upset WisconsinMar 19, 2007 - 12:08 AM CHICAGO (Ticker) -- Wisconsin overcame another poor first half. But Kevin Kruger shot down the Badgers in the second half.
The senior point guard scored 12 of his 16 points in a decisive second-half run as seventh-seeded Nevada-Las Vegas posted a 74-68 victory over second-seeded Wisconsin in the second round of the NCAA Tournament's Midwest Region.
UNLV (30-6) will play third-seeded Oregon in the regional semifinals Friday at St. Louis.
The Runnin' Rebels last advanced as far when it reached the Final Four in 1991.
Kruger, the son of UNLV coach Lon Kruger, missed all eight of his shots from the floor in Friday's victory over Georgia Tech. He began Sunday's game 1-of-7 from the field before coming alive late in the second half.
"They (the shots) felt good the last game and even at the beginning of this game," Kevin Kruger said. "I just had a little faith. I mean, I feel like I'm going to knock down my next one every time. If there was only a certain amount of time where I was going to make them, I was going to make sure I was going to get some up."
The Badgers (30-6) became the highest-seeded team to exit the NCAA Tournament. In their first game, they overcame an 18-point deficit in a 76-63 win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Friday.
Wisconsin rallied again after allowing the Runnin' Rebels to race to a 31-18 lead with 5:25 left in the first half.
"Today was one of those things where their guards came out and hit a couple of threes early," Wisconsin forward and Big Ten Player of the Year Alando Tucker said. "We've been able to bounce back though from things like that and it shows that we are a team that tries to play out the whole game."
The Badgers opened the second half with a 21-7 run and took a 48-46 lead on a pair of free throws by Kammron Taylor with 9:37 remaining. Taylor had eight points during the run and finished with 24 points.
Wisconsin increased the advantage to 53-48 with 8:27 left before Kruger took over.
"I liked the comments of our guys in the huddle at the time," coach Lon Kruger said. "They simply said we've done too much, we've come too far to let Wisconsin come back and roll over us like that. I thought it was really significant that not only did we catch up, but we went up five and that gave us some margin to play with down the stretch."
Kevin Kruger tied the game, 53-53 with a 3-pointer with 7:34 remaining and scored nine points over the next four minutes, including three shots from the arc, to give the Runnin' Rebels a 64-56 lead with 3:06 left.
Taylor scored 11 points in the last three minutes for Wisconsin, but it was too late.
"Things just started to fall in the last couple of games in the second half," Taylor said. "Unfortunately, It was too late today for me to make a run in the second half."
Wendell White led the Rebels with 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting and reserve Curtis Terry scored all six of his points in the final 86 seconds to seal the victory.
"I wasn't too worried about it," Terry said. "I knew I was cold, didn't play in the first half much, got into foul trouble. Down the stretch, I just made plays that my teammates and coach helped me create and we just got the job done. "
Tucker ended his college career with 17 points and seven rebounds, increasing his school-record point total to 2,217. During the season, he passed Michael Finley on the school's all-time list.
"As seniors, you have a level of frustration and disappointment but I wouldn't change anything that happened this whole season," Tucker said. "I've had fun. It's been a journey. And to be part of that with Kam (Kammron Taylor) and see what we have done, I'm really happy for that.
"We got to 30 wins but we also lost six games as a unit. I feel badly that we can't come back. It's been difficult realizing you can't come back, but we played a good game. I'm happy about the things I have been part of at Wisconsin. After a game like this, it is only right to be frustrated."
- MIDWEST REGIONAL
NCAA BB MIDWEST REGIONAL
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
UNLV 39 35 74
WISCONSIN 27 41 68 FINAL
Mar 18 4:40 PM
- MIDWEST REGIONAL
NCAA BB (7) UNLV 39
(2) WISCONSIN 27 HALFTIME
Mar 18 3:21 PM
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