Katin Reinhardt may have summed up the feeling in the locker room best.
“Losing sucks — no matter if it’s high school, college, whatever,” the freshman guard said after No. 18 UNLV (2-1) suffered its first loss of the season Friday night, 83-79, to Oregon (5-0) in the semifinals of the Global Sports Classic at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Freshman guard Damyean Dotson scored eight of his team-high 19 points in the final 2:23, including a spinning 10-foot jumper in the key over Reinhardt and Anthony Bennett with 19 seconds remaining that broke a 79-79 tie and proved to be the game-winner, to lead the Ducks to the upset before a crowd of 16,730.
UNLV had a chance to tie it but guard Anthony Marshall’s driving layup attempt with 10 seconds left went in-and-out and Dotson got the rebound, then sealed the win with a pair of free throws with six seconds left.
The loss snapped a 20-game win streak at the Thomas & Mack for UNLV, which shot just 35.8 percent from the floor, committed 18 turnovers and got outscored, 39-12, by Oregon’s bench.
The fact the Rebels were even in position to win it at the end was somewhat remarkable considering how poorly the team shot and handled Oregon’s press, especially in the first half when UNLV went eight minutes without a field goal and had 11 turnovers.
But a game that featured 21 lead changes and 11 ties came down to the final 2:23 which can be viewed here.
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UNLV blew two other scoring chances down the stretch, including a tough layup miss by Bennett with 1:16 remaining and a wide-open 3-pointer from the left corner by Justin Hawkins with 41 seconds to go that preceded Dotson’s game-winner.
“We had some great looks but we didn’t finish,” Marshall said. “We really didn’t execute down the stretch and Oregon did.”
“It was a difficult loss,” UNLV coach Dave Rice said. “There’s no way to sugar coat it.”
Bennett finished with a game-high 22 points and grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds to lead UNLV which also got a big game from Reinhardt (18 points, 4-of-8 3-pointers).
The Rebels will play Iowa State (4-1), a 78-70 loser to Cincinnati in Friday night’s other semifinal, in tonight’s third place game at 5 p.m.
“That’s the good thing about having a game tomorrow,” Marshall said. “We don’t have to wait around three days to play another game.”