UNLV 84, UC Irvine 80
LAS VEGAS (AP) _ Reggie Manuel scored 27 points, including eight 3-pointers, and UNLV defeated UC Irvine 84-80 Saturday night with assistant Howie Landa subbing for ill Runnin’ Rebels coach Tim Grgurich.
Grgurich was hospitalized earlier Saturday for exhaustion. He is expected to undergo tests and receive treatment for several days.
Irvine (4-5, 0-2 Big West) led 49-40 at halftime, but was held without a field goal for almost the final three minutes of the game.
Irvine stayed hot early in the second half when Kevin Simmons scored 7 of its 9 points in a spurt that put the Anteaters ahead, 60-54.
The Rebels (3-5, 1-2) took the lead for good, 78-76, with 37 seconds remaining on a jumper by Patrick Savoy. Free throws by Kebu Stewart and Manuel gave UNLV an 80-76 cushion on its way to its 12th straight win over Irvine.
Stewart added 17 points and 10 rebounds for UNLV. Mark Odsather led the Anteaters with 22 points and nine rebounds. Simmons added 21.
Landa, a former professional women’s basketball coach, had never been head coach for a college game.
``The biggest thing is the kids knew this was for Gerg. This is not my team,″ Landa said. ``The absence of Tim hurts all of us. I didn’t think I could coach tonight.″
Irvine was without leading scorer Chris Brown, who was suspended for two games by Rod Baker for what the coach characterized as selfish behavior.