Nevada men’s basketball finished the season with a pair of games against conference foes Wyoming and nationally ranked San Diego State. The Wolf Pack split these final two games—a victory over Wyoming and a loss against SDSU—to close out the regular season.
Nevada finishes its 2020 regular season campaign with a record of 19-11. They’ll now set their sights on the Mountain West Championship Tournament which begins on March 4. Nevada earned a first-round bye in the tournament and will play the winner of Colorado State versus Wyoming on March 5.
Wyoming, Feb. 25
The Wolf Pack earned their nineteenth win, taking down the Wyoming Cowboys, 73-68. The Cowboys, who have struggled at times on the season, played an inspired brand of basketball in this mountain west conference showdown.
Jalen Harris and Jazz Johnson led the team in minutes played and points scored with 23 and 13 respectively. The game marked Johnson’s twenty-fourth game reaching double figures in scoring this season.
Jake Hendricks poured in 27 points of his own for the Cowboys and was playing like a man on fire, shooting 7-11 from the three-point line and going 6-6 at the charity stripe.
The Pack put up an impressive showing on the boards with three players snagging seven apiece and Robby Robinson grabbing a team-high eight boards. Nevada allowed only two offensive rebounds, which contributed to the team’s victory over the Cowboys.
Nevada struck first in the match-up off of a jumper from Johnson. The score springboarded the Pack to an 8-2 run over the first five minutes of play.
Wyoming scored the next two baskets, pushing their total to seven, but Nevada again pulled ahead. The Wolf Pack went on a 13-3 run to distance themselves from the Cowboys.
Wyoming began to nip at their heels over the remainder of the half, but the Pack always kept at least a four-point lead. Wyoming trailed Nevada 28-24 at the half.
Coming out of the break, Nevada continued their hot streak. Johncarlos Reyes hit on the first two baskets of the half, extending the Pack’s lead to eight.
Wyoming tried to claw their way into the game, but Nevada held at least a two-score lead until just before the five-minute mark in the second half. The Cowboys managed to come within a single point twice with under five to play but were unable to break through Nevada’s defense.
Nevada hit two free throws as time expired to close out the match with a 73-68 victory.
San Diego State, Feb. 29
In front of 10,855 Wolf Pack fans, Nevada dropped a six-game win streak and fell to the San Diego State Aztecs, 76-83. Nevada finishes the regular season 19-11 and 12-6 in conference play. Saturday night was also senior night as Nevada Basketball honored Lindsey Drew, Jazz Johnson, Nisre Zouzoua and Johncarlos Reyes in their last game at Lawlor Events Center.
Both the Wolf Pack and the Aztecs started off the game shooting incredibly hot. Nevada went on the first run of the night scoring nine points unanswered. Halfway through the first half, Nevada led 17-10. San Diego was quick to go on a run themselves and scored eight points unanswered. That brought the Aztecs to within one with nine minutes left.
Ultimately, it was the Malachi Flynn show on Saturday as he had 22 points in the first half and 36 points total. Even with Flynn’s monster first half, he didn’t get much help as the rest of his team accounted for 14 points. The Aztecs found themselves down by nine at the half, 45-36.
San Diego started the second half slow as they saw their deficit grow to 13 points with 16:52 left in the game. From that point on, it was all Aztecs. The 13 point deficit was erased by the twelve-minute mark when San Diego led by one. It was a back-and-forth battle down to the very end. The game saw five lead changes in the final 12 minutes, but it was the Aztecs who pulled away behind Flynn’s career-high 36 point effort.
“Flynn is an awfully good player,” head coach Steve Alford said. “Seen enough of him at Washington St, let alone now at San Diego State.”
Jalen Harris, an awfully good player in his own right, finished the contest with 24 points, five assists and three rebounds. He finished the season averaging 25.3 points per Mountain West contest. That is good for the third-best average in conference history. Harris’ 163 made field goals is a new conference record and a record for a junior.
The night concluded as each of the seniors were honored at half court. Surrounded by family and friends, each player’s stats were read, Coach Alford had some words to say, and the players were able to address the home crowd as well.
Lindsey Drew, who has spent all five years here at Nevada and has played in 129 games in the silver and blue and has seen unprecedented success with the Wolf Pack. He has seen three NCAA tournament appearances and became the first-ever Wolf Pack player with 900 points, 600 rebounds and 500 assists. Even through all the success, when Drew was honored after the game, he thought about the community the most.
“I was really trying to hold in some tears,” Lindsey Drew said. “I’m pretty sure my eyes were watering the whole time. Yeah, it was a special moment honestly. I can’t thank the community enough.”
The Pack now turn their sights to the Mountain West tournament which starts Wednesday, March 4. The Pack received a first-round bye and will play as the tournament’s three seed.
Austin Paschke and Devansh Mehra can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SagebrushSports.