Willis has 'mentality' of go-to guy

UNLV guard nets 25 in double-OT win over Wildcats
2009-12-03T00:00:00Z 2014-07-08T16:13:39Z Willis has 'mentality' of go-to guy Patrick Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
December 03, 2009 12:00 am  • 

Some teams just have that one player - the one you know who wants the ball late with the game on the line.

Meet Tre'Von Willis, UNLV's go-to guy.

In the final half, 10 minutes of regulation and 10 minutes of overtime in UNLV's 74-72 win Wednesday night at McKale Center, Willis put on a scoring display.

Along with UA forward Derrick Williams, Willis gave an at-times-ugly offensive game a sense of pace and style.

Consider this: With 9:16 remaining in regulation, the Wildcats led 46-43. Willis had six points. He finished with 25.

"I got the mentality, 'Whatever it takes for me to do for this team to get a win, I'll do it,'" he said.

With Brendon Lavender guarding him most of the time, Willis, a junior transfer from Memphis, scored eight points in the final nine minutes of regulation, a whopping seven in the first overtime, and four in the final five-minute frame.

In the two overtimes, he made 4 of 8 field goal attempts.

"Lavender's a good player," said Willis, who made 9 of 19 from the field. "I felt I was a little quicker than him, and he was playing pretty close to me. I wanted to take advantage and make a play.

"We had a few plays called where either it was for me to get to the basket or look back for my guy coming off the screen.

"The paint was open, and I looked to attack and try to get easy buckets."

Calling himself a "semi-pretty-nice-sized-guard" at 6 feet 4 inches, Willis was able to take a quick step to the basket and use his body to seal off UA players.

"He attacks pretty aggressively," UNLV coach Lon Kruger said. "He's hard to guard off the dribble because he's strong."

Wise OK?

About a minute into the second overtime, UA guard Nic Wise fell to the ground and appeared to hold his left knee, which was covered in a black brace.

The senior left the game but was reinserted on the next clock stoppage.

UA coach Sean Miller said he thought Wise was "exhausted" more than anything else; he played a game-high 43 minutes.

Rim shots

• Down five points with about three minutes left, the Rebels received a lift from an unusual source - guard Kendall Wallace.

Wallace, who did not start the game, recorded an offensive rebound that led to a basket, then stole the ball on an entry pass two possessions later and hit a basket.

The effort gave UNLV a 54-52 advantage.

Wallace, a Mesa Mountain View High School grad and a former teammate of Lavender's, played every minute of both overtimes.

He finished with eight points in 26 minutes.

"I was happy for him, being in his home state," Kruger said.

As a senior in 2007, Wallace and his teammates became the first Class 5A squad to win three-straight championships since 1961.

He broke the school's scoring (1,392), assists (447) and steals (202) records.

• With 6.1 seconds remaining and a three-point lead, the Rebels fouled Wise after Arizona crossed midcourt, rather than allow the Wildcats to attempt a three-pointer.

Kruger said it was a move consistent with his strategy.

"Some coaches don't, some do," he said. "We do."

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Pac-12 basketball standings

  Conference Overall
UCLA 0 0 0 0.000 2 0 0 1.000
Arizona State 0 0 0 0.000 2 0 0 1.000
Arizona 0 0 0 0.000 3 0 0 1.000
California 0 0 0 0.000 2 0 0 1.000
Oregon 0 0 0 0.000 2 0 0 1.000
Colorado 0 0 0 0.000 2 0 0 1.000
Stanford 0 0 0 0.000 2 0 0 1.000
Oregon State 0 0 0 0.000 2 0 0 1.000
Washington 0 0 0 0.000 1 0 0 1.000
Utah 0 0 0 0.000 1 1 0 0.500
USC 0 0 0 0.000 1 2 0 0.333
Washington State 0 0 0 0.000 0 2 0 0.000

AP Top 25

Pac-12 basketball schedule

Teams Date Time
Cal-Irvine at
11/19 54-71
Akron at
11/20 66-46
Loyola Marymount at
Arizona State
11/20 7:00 pm
Syracuse at
11/20 7:00 pm
Toledo at
11/21 5:00 pm
11/21 5:00 pm
UC Riverside at
11/21 7:00 pm
Oral Roberts at
Oregon State
11/21 7:00 pm
Oral Roberts at
Oregon State
11/21 7:00 pm
Colorado at
11/22 4:00 pm
Long Beach State at
11/23 8:00 pm
Missouri at
11/24 3:00 pm
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