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April 21, 2014

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New big shot on campus

All in all it wasn't too bad a weekend for Curtis Terry and older brother Jason when it came to making clutch baskets. Here's a rundown of what happened:

Curtis Terry is the first to admit that his life has changed for the better since UNLV's remarkable 93-91 overtime victory at San Diego State on Saturday afternoon.

No longer is the former walk-on from Curtis High School in Tacoma, Wash., known mainly as the younger brother of former University of Arizona star and current Dallas Mavericks guard Jason Terry. Instead, he's now known for "The Shot."

It was Terry's long 3-pointer at the buzzer that capped the Rebels' dramatic 10-point comeback in the final 17.8 seconds of regulation to force overtime in one of the greatest turnarounds in college basketball history. The shot was shown repeatedly the next couple of days on ESPN's SportsCenter and other news shows.

"Everywhere I go on campus people have been saying, 'Good shot' or 'Great job,' " Terry said before practice Tuesday. "It's been crazy."

Terry also said his cell phone has been ringing constantly.

"Especially after the game," he said. "I got a lot of calls from friends and family from back home who saw it on the Internet and then saw it later on SportsCenter. It was pretty cool because I hadn't talked to some of these guys in a long time."

Overlooked in all the excitement that came with the clutch basket is the fact Terry came within one rebound of a double-double in what easily was the best game of his young college career. He finished with 17 points, including 4 of 7 treys, grabbed nine rebounds and had two assists in 29 minutes of action.

But it was his 3-pointer around Aztecs freshman guard Tyler Smith, who had been instructed to foul before the shot could be taken, to force overtime that was part of the top story on SportsCenter that night.

It was vindication for the 6-foot-5 swingman who didn't have any Division I scholarship offers as a high school senior despite averaging 20 points, five rebounds and five assists per game.

"After the summer of my junior year I had a couple of West Coast schools looking at me," Terry said. "Santa Clara, Southern Utah and some schools like that. But that just didn't work out. I was going to go to a prep school. But then I came and played in a tournament here in April. Coach (Lon) Kruger and his staff came and saw me play. My summer league coach called him and asked him about me walking on. I decided to walk on, and I feel like I've been earning my way ever since."

Terry was awarded a scholarship before the start of the spring semester.

"Yeah, I kind of hope those schools see all the stuff I'm doing right now," Terry said. "But Coach Kruger believed in me and all the guys are great here so I'm just blessed that I got this opportunity."

Kruger said he remembered Curtis Terry from his days as head coach of the Atlanta Hawks.

"He'd come down and visit Jason in Atlanta," Kruger said. "He was always a bright, happy and sharp kid.

"I'm really happy for Curtis. He has such a great attitude and he's worked so hard. And whether he's getting five minutes (in a game) or 20 minutes he has exactly the same approach. And that's how young people get better. He's maintained that attitude of trying to keep getting better every day in practice as opposed to feeling sorry for himself."

And that hard work paid off in a big way against the Aztecs.

"It was a good day, not just for me but our whole team," Terry said. "It was a huge win to come back like that. It's a starting point for us. We know now that we can't ever give up and that there's still a lot left of the season for us."

He looked like his old self during a physical practice, swishing several long jumpers.

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