After weeks of poor shooting, lineup changes and a great deal of frustration from fans and head coach David Carter, Nevada was able to get out of its seven-game losing slump with a 60-57 victory over San Jose State on Saturday.
The Wolf Pack’s fortunes rose on Wednesday after battling conference-leading San Diego State to a close 65-63 loss and on Saturday the team was able to deliver the restless Wolf Pack fans a much-needed win on Saturday.
Nevada has two opportunities to continue winning during the upcoming week when it travels east to take on Utah State on Tuesday, before a home showdown against New Mexico on Saturday.
THE GRUDGE MATCH
When Nevada and Utah State played three weeks ago the Aggies’ second-half outburst was enough to carry it to a 70-54 victory over the Wolf Pack. Utah State was able to shoot 55 percent from the field in the second period, which propelled them to the victory after the game was as close as 31-26 with a little over 15 minutes remaining in the game.
Guard Jalen Moore paced Utah State in the victory as he was able to convert on all four of his three-point attempts on his way to a game-high 22 points while also chipping in four rebounds. The second matchup will likely be more of the same with Moore leading the way. During the season Moore has averaged a team-high 15.4 points per game.
Moore’s game is outstanding and the most impressive part of it is how efficiently he shoots the ball. He has shot 49 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range on the year. Moore has especially stepped it up in conference hitting on a staggering 50 percent of his three pointers which is tied for tops in the Mountain West Conference.
Perimeter defense will be a must in order for Nevada to slow down the Aggies and that will start with Wolf Pack guards Marqueze Coleman and Eric Cooper Jr. buckling down and containing Moore.
Last season Nevada was trumped by eventual conference champions New Mexico by double digits in both games. Although last year’s New Mexico squad was a more daunting test than this year’s squad, the Wolf Pack are still in for quite a challenge when it hosts the Lobos on Saturday.
New Mexico is also paced by its backcourt duo of Deshawn Delaney and Hugh Greenwood. Delaney is leading the team in scoring at 12.3 points per game and Greenwood is second on the squad averaging 11.7 points per game.
The injury to star guard Cullen Neal has granted Delaney and Greenwood the opportunity to shine and the twosome has not disappointed. What makes Delaney and Greenwood so difficult to contain is their size. With Greenwood standing close to 6-foot-4 and Delaney towering in at 6-foot-5, guard D.J. Fenner will have to take on the task of stopping the guards as he is the only guard on the Wolf Pack roster who is taller than 6-foot-4.
Containing the lengthy guards will be Nevada’s main priority in order to come away with a victory.
Stone Harper can be reached at email@example.com. edu and on Twitter @StoneHarperNVSB.