With victories this past week over New Mexico and Fresno State, Nevada men’s basketball is getting hot at just the right time. The win over Fresno State was their fifth straight victory and twentieth straight over Mountain West opponents at home.
Nevada vs. New Mexico
On an emotional night, Nevada men’s basketball earned an 88-74 victory over the New Mexico Lobos Tuesday in The Pit.
Tuesday marked head coach Steve Alford’s first return to The Pit since departing for UCLA in 2013. It was assistant coach Craig Neal’s first visit back too, who spent ten years with the program—including four seasons as a head coach from 2013-2017.
Nevada shot 50 percent from the field and 38.2 percent from three-point range. Jalen Harris led the Pack with 26 points on 9-17 shooting. He also hauled in a team-high nine rebounds. Harris has totaled double-digit scoring efforts in the last 23 games.
Lindsey Drew added 14 points with six rebounds. He became the first player in Pack history to total 900 points, 600 rebounds and 500 assists in their career with Nevada.
Jazz Johnson had 15 points on 3-9 shooting from beyond the arc. He tallied a milestone of his own, eclipsing 1,500 points from his collegiate career. Zane Meeks was the only other Nevada double-digit scorer, totaling 14 points on 4-7 shooting from three-point range.
The Lobos shot 38.8 percent—tying their third-worst shooting performance this season—and 32.4 percent from deep. JaQuan Lyle tallied a team-high 16 points on 6-14 shooting. Vance Jackson added 15 points on 4-11 shooting.
Harris, who had 13 of Nevada’s first 19 points, put Nevada ahead 19-13 early. Nevada extended its advantage to 43-33 after a 3-pointer from Drew.
The Pack walked into halftime up 44-35. Two three-pointers from Meeks and Johnson put them ahead 58-45 with 15:03 remaining.
Two three-pointers from Johnson late in the game put it out of reach, as New Mexico was unable to cut its lead to within 13 points in the final few minutes.
Nevada vs. Fresno State
Nevada escaped with a 78-76 victory over the Fresno State Bulldogs Saturday at Lawlor Events Center on Saturday, Feb. 22.
The Wolf Pack has now won 33 of their last 35 home games, including 20 straight over MW opponents. Nevada has tied its longest win streak on the season with five games.
Jalen Harris led the Pack with 20 points on 7-20 shooting. He has tallied double-digit scoring in 24 consecutive games.
Nisré Zouzoua had 19 points on 7-9 shooting and 5-7 shooting from beyond the arc off the bench. Nevada head coach Steve Alford was impressed with his performance after the game.
“Nisré was terrific,” Alford said. “Not only his point production off the bench, but I thought he was easily our best defender in the guard spot tonight.”
Drew and Johnson both tallied 15 points apiece, both shooting 5-11. Drew had six rebounds and four steals, both team highs. Johnson totaled a team-high four assists to go along with his three 3-point baskets.
Fresno State shot 44.6 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range. Niven Hart led the Bulldogs with 18 points on 5-11 shooting, including 4-6 from beyond the arc. Jarred Hyder added 15 points on 5-10 shooting, including 4-8 from beyond the arc.
The Bulldogs jumped ahead 13-2 in the first two minutes, forcing a Wolf Pack timeout. Nevada battled back, earning a 25-24 lead—its first lead of the contest—after back-to-back three-pointers from Johnson and Zouzoua.
Nevada trailed at halftime 43-42. A steal-and-score from Harris gave the Pack a 48-46 with 16:04 remaining in the first half. Fresno State took a 69-60 lead after a 3-pointer from Noah Blackwell with 7:32 remaining.
The Wolf Pack closed the final 6:45 on a 16-5 run, pulling away with the thrilling home victory.
To close out the season, Nevada travels to Laramie, Wyo. on Feb. 25, before returning home on Feb. 29 to host San Diego State. San Diego State was previously undefeated but lost in a stunner to UNLV on Saturday, Feb. 22.
Matt Hanifan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SagebrushSports