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December 19, 2014

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Amundson is no longer required to carry the Rebels

A significant thing happened to UNLV on Saturday night when Louis Amundson scored only nine points against Wyoming.

The Rebels won.

In three of the previous four games in which the 6-foot-9 senior power forward tallied only single figures, the Rebels lost.

He had seven points in a 14-point home defeat to Pepperdine on Dec. 22, another seven in a 16-point loss at San Diego State on Jan. 14 and six in a two-point setback to Air Force at the Thomas & Mack Center on Jan. 25.

"Especially early in the season, Lou was carrying us," UNLV sophomore swingman Curtis Terry said. "He was doing a lot for us. But as the season progressed and Mike (Umeh) went out, a lot of people have stepped up."

Umeh, who scored at least 16 points six times this season, had a bone chip removed from his right knee Monday and is out for the season.

Terry named freshman guard Jo'Van Adams, junior point guard Jason Petrimoulx and junior forward Wendell White as key players who have made UNLV a multidimensional team.

Adams (15 points), Petrimoulx (12) and White (12 points, 12 rebounds) offset Amundson's below-average performance in the 66-54 victory against the Cowboys. Adams has averaged nearly 14 points since assuming Umeh's shooting guard role.

"We're all trying to pick it up so Louis doesn't have to stress all the time," Terry said. "It could be nerve-wracking, just knowing you have to get it done every night. With us helping, every little bit he gives us is a benefit."

Petrimoulx, a Cimarron-Memorial High graduate who landed at UNLV after two seasons at Dixie State College in St. George, Utah, has more than justified coach Lon Kruger's decision to make him the starting point guard.

After experimenting with senior Ricky Morgan and Adams as floor generals, Kruger tapped Petrimoulx, who is first in Mountain West Conference play with an assists-turnovers ratio of 3.00. He has 39 assists and only 13 turnovers in nine league games.

Terry is second, at 2.45. The statistic requires a minimum of three assists per game. Petrimoulx is also the overall league leader, at 2.29. Rashaun Broadus of Brigham Young is second at 1.59.

At the halfway point of the past six Mountain West seasons, eight teams have won at least three times away from home. All eight earned at least a share of the regular-season title.

San Diego State (which won three of its first four road games) and UNLV (also 3-1 away from Thomas & Mack) joined that club this season.

Last season, the Rebels lost their first three league road games before winning their last four in Kruger's first season. In December, UNLV lost four in a row on the road, at Oklahoma State, Oregon State, Hawaii and Minnesota.

UNLV (13-8, 7-2) plays BYU at the Marriott Center in Provo on Saturday night.

"At Oregon State, we were up by 20 in the second half and lost the game," Terry said. "Minnesota went on a 17-5 run late in the first half and won. We just had to learn how to finish games off ... but we learned a lot from those four road games."

Rob Miech can be reached at 259-4087 or at [email protected]

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