56 - 55 Final
  for this game

Bellfield's layup lifts UNLV to road upset of Louisville

Jan 1, 2009 - 4:41 AM LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (Ticker) -- Oscar Bellfield showed that one does not have to be a veteran to learn from an earlier mistake.

The freshman Bellfield hit a tough layup with 16 seconds remaining as Nevada-Las Vegas claimed a 56-55 upset of No. 18 Louisville on Wednesday.

After the Cardinals committed a turnover on the other end after getting stymied on a set off a timeout, the freshman guard Bellfield got the ball to the right of the key, recognized a mismatch with forward Samardo Samuels and drove in for the winning basket.

"That's a play we run all the time," UNLV coach Lon Kruger said. "Louisville was bouncing back and forth between switching the play and getting back. That time they switched their five man onto Oscar. He made a nice play, that shot wasn't an easy shot. I thought Louisville defended it really well and Oscar made a tough shot."

"That was a tough way to bring in the new year," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. "Our guys played their hearts out at the end, but Las Vegas just made the last play. They took advantage of us because of Samardo not being able to guard one of their smaller players."

Bellfield had found himself in the same situation just over three minutes earlier with the Runnin' Rebels clinging to a 51-50 lead. However, the 6-2 guard attempted to shoot over the 6-8 Samuels, who blocked the attempt from 3-point range.

The Los Angeles native, however, made the right decision down the stretch, finishing up with eight points on 3-of-8 shooting.

Louisville (8-3) had a final chance but Terrence Williams missed a tightly contested layup before UNLV ran out the closing seconds.

"It was exactly what we wanted," Pitino said of his team's final possession. "We wanted to go inside to Earl (Clark) and if it wasn't open, we wanted to set the high pick and T-Will (Williams) to drive. He had the option to dish or get fouled. I thought he got fouled but that's a judgment call."

"We switched the ball screen and Darris (Santee) had a pretty good angle on Williams that gave it away just a little bit, but it was an opportunity," Kruger said. "I'm sure they weren't displeased with the look, because they had it driving to the bucket. It just didn't go in."

Rene Rougeau scored 17 points and Tre'Von Willis added 16 for the Runnin' Rebels (12-2), who played without leading scorer Wink Adams due to an abdominal strain.

"Without question anytime you lose a guy like Wink ... but we had a whole week to practice and that helped a lot," Kruger said. "It's not like he went out last night and we had to make adjustments all of a sudden. Tre'Von came in and did a good job and Kendall (Wallace) came in and did a good job and DeShawn Mitchell gave us some good minutes the first half. I thought a lot of guys stepped in and played really well."

Despite the absence of Adams, UNLV came out flying, scoring the first 10 points and taking a 20-6 advantage.

Louisville just could not put the ball in the basket, missing 15 of its first 18 shots.

Yet, the Cardinals were able to chip away in the second half, taking their first lead at 48-47 with 4:31 to play when Williams split two free throws.

Moments later, Willis hit one of his three 3-pointers for the 51-50 lead - one of four lead changes in the closing minutes.

Williams finished with just nine points on 2-of-15 shooting for Louisville, which had a 15-game winning streak at Freedom Hall snapped.

Preston Knowles scored 11 points and Samuels and Clark both had 10 and seven rebounds for the Cardinals, who finished 30 percent (16-of-54) from the field.

Louisville will aim to bounce back when it faces historic rival Kentucky on Sunday.