Stevens' clutch shots doom UNLV in Mountain West

Stevens’ clutch shots doom UNLV in Mountain West

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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Call it a new double-double maybe? Perhaps that’s the best way to describe how Isaiah Stevens burned the Rebels on Saturday night. He hit twice from 3-point range in the closing seconds of regulation and twice again in overtime to give Colorado State a thrilling 82-81 Mountain West victory at the Thomas & Mack Center.

“Obviously, that one stings a little bit,” said UNLV coach Kevin Kruger, whose team feel to 1-4 in the conference and 12-5 overall. “Did a lot of great things to give ourselves a chance to win the game, and just a couple big shots, couple tings go a different direction.”

Stevens led Colorado State (2-4 in MW, 10-9 overall) with 33 points, shooting 12-for-22, including 8-for-16 from long range. He also added nine assists, eight rebounds and two steals.

EJ Harkless matched Stevens with his career high of 33 points, with 26 coming after intermission. Harkless shot 10-for-20 and made 11 of 13 free throws. He added nine rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Justin Webster added 15 points and Luis Rodriguez contributed 12 for the Rebels.

Webster said there was no talk of fouling at the end of regulation and overtime. The Rebels led by four with eight seconds left in regulation and by four again with 35 seconds remaining in overtime.

He said Stevens just hit some clutch shots. “We was just trying to keep the ball in front of us,” Webster said. “Credit to Isaiah. He made a tough shot over two people (to end regulation). Backboard. … He just made a tough shot.”

To force the overtime, with UNLV leading by three with two seconds left, Stevens got an inbounds pass and banked in a two-handed overhead shot from well beyond the arc.

In the extra period, Jordan McCabe’s two free throws with 16 seconds remaining pushed the UNLV lead to 81-79. Stevens followed with his decisive 3-pointer with four seconds left, then Harkless missed a 3 as time expired.

Said Harkless, after the Rebels second OT loss in the conference: “You just got to finish games, that’s what it comes down to. … We struggle with that a couple of times. … That’s on us.”

Cool shooting didn’t help the Rebels. They were 25-for-65 overall (38.5%) to 31 of 61 (59.8%).

UNLV next faces two tough conference games, both on the road — at Utah State on Tuesday (Jan. 17) and at Fresno State on Saturday (Jan. 21). 

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