(2-5, 0-4 away)

Minnesota 72

(5-2, 4-1 home)

    1:00 PM ET, December 10, 2005

    1 2 T
    UNLV 31 3667
    MINN 37 3572

    Top Performers

    UNLV: M. Umeh 19 Pts, 5 Reb, 3 Ast, 3 Stl, 1 Blk

    Minnesota: S. Tollackson 9 Pts, 9 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 Blk

    Minnesota 72, UNLV 67

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- About an hour before Saturday's game against UNLV, Vincent Grier heard the words from his doctor.

    She told the Gophers' star swingman that if he felt confident enough in his injured left hand, he could play against the Runnin' Rebels.

    "Leaving it up to Vince to play or not is like leaving it up to my 2-year-old whether he can have candy or not," Minnesota coach Dan Monson said after Grier scored 19 points to lead the Gophers over UNLV 72-67.

    Playing with a brace on his 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 he had barely been cleared by Thursday to resume non-contact drills in practice.

    On Friday, coach Monson said Grier was doubtful to play against the Runnin' Rebels (2-5). But Monson said he went through a full practice and was evaluated again in the morning before the game.

    Grier took the floor for warmups and received a loud ovation when introduced in the starting lineup -- and an even louder one when he came out of the game for good late in the second half.

    "It was fun to be back out there with the guys," Grier said, adding that he didn't play cautiously to protect his hand.

    "Just go out there and play," he said.

    Grier was an All-Big Ten selection last year, scoring 17.9 points per game.

    "It's really nice to know that Vince is back in your corner," Gophers center Spencer Tollackson said.

    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 3 of his own. The Rebels didn't come closer than four points the rest of the way.

    "They were more the aggressor," Rebels coach Lon Kruger said. "We've got to get a little meaner. We don't have that tenacity you need to have, especially on the road."

    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, Tollackson's post moves, and Grier's quickness from all over the court.

    Kruger said he had been expecting Grier to play all week.

    "He's an outstanding player," the coach said. "He had a good game. He had a very big impact."

    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.

    "Same old Vince," Coleman said. "Hard on defense, fast to the basket."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 67 72
    FG Made-Attempted 27-57 (.474) 25-57 (.439)
    3P Made-Attempted 10-22 (.455) 5-13 (.385)
    FT Made-Attempted 3-4 (.750) 17-27 (.630)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (0/0) 11 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 10 10

    2005-06 Season

    » Dec 10, 2005 @MINN 72, UNLV 67Recap