Rebels Fall At Minnesota 72-67|
Dec. 10, 2005
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Vincent Grier scored 19 points in his earlier-than-expected return to the court Saturday as Minnesota held off pesky UNLV 72-67 to deal the Runnin' Rebels their fifth straight loss.
Playing with a bandaged left shooting hand, Grier showed no signs of rust in his first game since breaking a bone in his ring finger in Minnesota's season opener against North Dakota State on Nov. 18.
The All-American candidate had been expected to miss four to six weeks, and had been barely been cleared Thursday to resume non-contact drills in practice. On Friday, coach Dan Monson said Grier was doubtful to play against the Runnin' Rebels (2-5).
But he took the floor for warmups on Saturday and received a loud ovation when introduced in the starting lineup.
Grier was an All-Big Ten selection last year, scoring 17.9 points per game.
Dan Coleman added 16 points for Minnesota (5-2), and Adam Boone 10.
Minnesota led 43-33 early in the second half, but UNLV pulled back into the game by outscoring the Gophers 15-4. Michael Umeh converted a three-point play and Dustin Villepigue hit a layup to give the Rebels a 48-47 lead with 11:09 to play, but Minnesota answered with a 9-2 run.
UNLV pulled to 56-53 on Jo'Van Adams' three with 7:05 remaining, but Boone -- who had a dismal shooting performance (3-for-10) -- answered with a three of his own. The Rebels didn't come closer than four points the rest of the way.
Umeh led the Rebels with 19 points. Terry Curtis had 12, Louis Amundson added 11 and Villepigue 10.
The Rebels led Minnesota by as many as 10 in the first half thanks to some timely 3-point shooting. Umeh's three at the 9:53 mark gave UNLV a 27-17 lead, but Minnesota closed the half with a 20-4 run sparked by Coleman's long-range shooting, Spencer Tollackson's post moves, and Grier's quickness from all over the court.
Grier wowed the crowd early. He eluded a couple of defenders in the lane with an impressive spin move and layup at the 6:50 mark of the first half. Then, he took Terry off the dribble from the top of the key, drove for a layup, drew a flagrant foul and sank both free throws to give Minnesota a 37-31 lead at halftime.