by Stone Harper
Nevada fans and players had confidence in bunches after the Wolf Pack went into the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas and defeated UNLV on a late-game dagger from Wolf Pack point guard Marqueze Coleman. Nevada was hoping to carry that confidence into Fort Collins, Colorado on Tuesday, Jan. 13 when it played Colorado State — the Rams had other plans.
Nevada suffered its worst loss in over 40 years when the Colorado State crushed the Wolf Pack 98-42. Not only were Wolf Pack fans and players in shock after the game but even members of Colorado State’s team, too.
“This Nevada team went to Vegas and won against UNLV,” said Colorado State head coach Larry Eustachy. “They have a lot of talent and we have won by this margin before against division three schools but to go into a game where we know we have to play well and for this to happen is surprising.”
A look at the box score sheds even more light onto the Wolf Pack’s 46-point beatdown. In the first half, Nevada was held to a season-low 12 points while shooting 16 percent from the field. Nevada’s defense, its usual strong suit, didn’t fare any better as Colorado State was able to score 55 points on 52 percent shooting.
After intermission, Nevada was outscored 43-30. The Wolf Pack shot better from the field (52 percent), but the damage was already done. The Rams, meanwhile, continued their onslaught, shooting 60 percent in the second half.
“It was embarrassing,” Nevada head coach David Carter told the Reno Gazette-Journal after the game. “We have a week of practice. I’m just glad we don’t play on Saturday because we’re not ready. We need practice. Our mental approach the last two games just hasn’t been there.”
Junior AJ West was the Wolf Pack’s leading scorer with 10 points, but in what is becoming the norm, West’s supporting cast was practically nonexistent. Besides West, the rest of the team shot 13-of-44 from the field and 1-of-10 from behind the arc — combining for 32 points.
Besides the horrid shooting, Nevada had mental lapses. The Wolf Pack turned the ball over 18 times to the Rams’ five times. Colorado State scored 30 points of Nevada’s miscues.
“It’s just the mental approach to the game,” Carter told the RGJ after the game. “You have to respect the game. You have to approach the game the same way every time. In the Vegas game, we were very focused and we looked like we could compete, but the last two games, we’ve been a completely different game.”
With the blowout, Nevada moves to 6-10 (2-2 Mountain West). After a four game-win streak, the Wolf Pack has lost its past two. Nevada will look to turn things around on Tuesday, Jan. 20 against Utah State at home.
“You have to get back to focusing,” Carter told the RGJ. “We haven’t arrived. I knew it’d be an issue after Vegas. We thought we arrived. We haven’t had enough success to think like that. It wasn’t really success. It was one game. I preached that to the guys. We need to go home, get a couple days of practice and play better.”
Stone Harper can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @StoneHarperNVSB.