White bulls way to 22 points as UNLV ousts Wisconsin

Posted: March 19, 2007

CHICAGO - Wilt "The Stilt" Chamberlain and Charles "The Round Mound of Rebound" Barkley got their nicknames for their physiques.

When an athlete plays through as much pain as Nevada-Las Vegas' Wendell White, he deserves a nickname. For him, it's all about toughness.

White showed again why he is called "The Bull" in UNLV's 74-68 second-round NCAA tournament upset of Wisconsin yesterday in a Midwest Regional game at the United Center.

Behind White's 22 points and perseverance, seventh-seeded UNLV earned the Runnin' Rebels their first Sweet Sixteen date since 1991. They will face No. 3 Oregon in St. Louis.

"My nose, eye, jaw, ribs, sprained ankles, bumped knees," White said, rattling off a few of his injuries. "It doesn't matter. I'm taking it for the team. . . . That's why they call me The Bull."

White has endured a sprained ankle, a wired-shut broken jaw - which resulted in no missed games - 12 stitches on a busted chin, and bruised ribs that he suffered in UNLV's first-round win against Georgia Tech.

He was questionable for yesterday's game and wore protective gear on his ribs.

"They gave me a couple of elbows here and there," White said of the Wisconsin players.

White said he also was hit in the jaw during the final minutes against Wisconsin and told point guard Kevin Kruger how much pain he was in. Kruger emphasized that only three minutes remained in the game.

As has become his style, White played through it.

White was part of the defensive team assigned to contain Wisconsin's dynamic forward Alando Tucker, who scored 17 points.

White is the type of versatile athlete who can take teams far this time of year. At a trim 6-foot-6, 215 pounds - after dropping 20 pounds this summer - White is too big for teams that try to play him small and too quick for teams that stick a big man on him.

"I'm just a power guard," he said. "That's what they call me. I'm not a power forward."

The Badgers had problems keeping him down as White shot 8 for 12 from the floor and made all six of his free-throw attempts.

Second-seeded Wisconsin overcame an 18-point deficit to beat 15th seed Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the first round, which prompted Corpus Christi coach Ronnie Arrows to predict a UNLV win. That, of course, upset the Wisconsin faithful.

Against the Rebels, Wisconsin came back from a 13-point deficit to take a five-point lead at 53-48 with 8 minutes, 19 seconds to play. The Badgers were led by Kammron Taylor's 24 points.

"Wisconsin made a big-time run," UNLV coach Lon Kruger said. "I thought our response really showed our progress and growth. We've been fighting and not giving in."

Kruger's son Kevin, a senior transfer from Arizona State, scored 12 of his 16 points after halftime. He connected on 4 of 9 three-pointers.

Rebels guard Curtis Terry replaced starter Wink Adams, who left the game after crashing to the court on his back on a foul. Terry missed the two free throws he attempted for Adams but made up for it in the final two minutes.

After Wisconsin closed to within, 65-61, Terry nailed a three-pointer with 1:25 remaining. He then made one of two free throws and scored on a layup that gave UNLV a 72-67 lead with about half a minute to play.

White scored the final points of the game, making two free throws.

Contact staff writer Shannon Ryan at 215-854-5503

or sryan@phillynews.com.

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