Nevada Basketball won its previous outing in Fort Collins against the Colorado State Rams. The Wolf Pack notched its 20th victory against the Rams with a 76-67 victory.
The Rams were unphased by the absence of its head coach Larry Eustachy who was placed on administrative leave as the athletic department is conducting a “climate assessment” of the way that he ran his basketball teams. After giving Nevada trouble in the first half, shooting 52 percent from the field, the Rams went ice cold in the second half, shooting a measly 26.7 percent.
With a jumper by Anthony Bonner with a little over three minutes remaining in the game to cut the lead to three, Caleb Martin stepped in to give the Wolf Pack a more comfortable cushion. He got fouled in the following possession and converted on two free throws. Then, in the subsequent time down the floor, he nailed a three to give Nevada an 8-point lead.
Without one of their leading scorers in J.D. Paige and with Prentiss Nixon just returning from an injury, the Rams weren’t able to produce enough to get over the hump in the second half.
They were able to find production from Deion James, who scored 12 points, and Bob Che and Anthony Bonner who each chipped in 13 points.
On the other end, the Wolf Pack was led by Caleb Martin, Lindsey Drew, and Kendall Stephens who produced 57 of Nevada’s 76 points on the night. Kendall Stephens eclipsed the 1000-point mark for his college career.
The Wolf Pack once again reclaimed its ranking in the AP Top 25 poll, checking in at 23 for this week. Every time this season they have been ranked, they have lost the next game. However, this time around, the Wolf Pack will be able to play as a ranked team in front of what should be two sell-out games.
With an 8 p.m. tipoff tomorrow, Nevada will take on in-state rival UNLV for the first time this season. UNLV is currently sitting at 5-5 in conference play but they are 16-7 on the season. They are a tough bunch that gave 13th ranked Arizona a run for its money earlier in the season.
They are led by top-ranked junior college transfer Shakur Juiston and its gem of the previous recruiting class in five-star big man Brandon McCoy. The duo combined for 42 points on 19-of-25 shooting against San Diego State in its previous outing. Nevada has had its struggles against size this season and McCoy is no average big man.
This weekend, the Wolf Pack will also take on perennial Mountain West powerhouse San Diego State. The Aztecs, who are missing their star Trey Kell, are still a tough opponent who could give the Wolf Pack a good fight following an emotional rivalry game against UNLV.