Las Vegas » His three-point shooting touch has betrayed him this season, so UNLV's Wink Adams has been working on his mid-range game.
The Utah Utes wish he hadn't.
The 6-foot senior guard and first-team All-Mountain West Conference star doomed the Utes to a 75-65 loss at the Thomas & Mack Center on Saturday -- their sixth in a row against the Rebels there -- with a signature showcase early in the second half that turned the game around.
"He was a huge factor," Utah's Lawrence Borha said. "It seemed like his whole team rallied around him. As soon as he got going, the whole team just started going, and that was game-changer."
Borha would know.
The senior guard held Adams to just two points in the first half, when the Utes dominated the game and led by as many as 12 points. But once Adams got loose early in the second half, there was no stopping him. He hit one jumper, then two more from the same spot on the left side of the court.
By then, the fans were hysterical, and the Rebels were catching the Utes.
Adams hit a couple of free throws, then another jumper. In all, 10 of his 14 points came during a six-minute span that fueled another dramatic turnaround, following the one at Brigham Young three days earlier.
"Coaches told me to go out and shoot the pull-up," Adams said. "You know, mid-range, I've been working on that in practice, and once that first one fell, [teammate Tre'von Willis] came back to me and said, 'Shoot it again.' I'm just glad it fell when it did."
After trailing 38-30 at halftime, the Rebels outscored the Utes 45-27 in the second half and won their 27th straight home game against a league opponent.
"Wink made three pull-ups in a row, off the dribble, a couple going right, one going left," Utah coach Jim Boylen said. "You have to live with those. You have to live with those pull-ups like that. That's what we're trying to get him to do. They weren't threes. That got them going, and we didn't react to that well."