The Nevada Wolf Pack took on New Mexico, ranked number 25 in men’s basketball, on Jan. 23 in a winning effort, defeating the Lobos 97-94 in a double overtime thriller.
The Wolf Pack was off to a strong start in the first half with Will Baker, Wolf Pack center, scoring the first five points of the game. From there, the team would trade field goals with the Lobos, not allowing New Mexico to gain any momentum for the first 10 minutes of play. Nevada was able to stay in the game due to Baker, who had 13 points and two assists before being subbed out.
After the 10-minute mark, the Lobos mounted a 9-2 run and gained their first lead of the game. Both teams went head-to-head, trading baskets, with the Lobos holding a three point lead going into the final three minutes and 22 seconds of the half. However, Nevada caught a last minute hot streak, going on a 10-2 run fueled by Jarod Lucas and Kenan Blackshear, Wolf Pack guards, and Tre Coleman, Nevada forward.
After 20 minutes of play, The Wolf Pack was up 43-38.
Nevada slipped coming back from halftime. Like the Wolfpack did in the first half, the Lobos took control early in the second half, taking back the lead two minutes into the quarter. The third back and forth would ensue, but the Wolf Pack was unable to gain a lead of more than two points during this time. At the halfway point of the second half, the game was tied, both teams at 59.
The game would remain tight through the rest of regulation, with Nevada and New Mexico scoring one after the other. Towards the end of the game, the Wolfpack took a late lead thanks to a Blackshear field goal with 50 seconds remaining. In the end, the Lobos would ultimately answer back with their own field goal from Jamal Mashburn Jr., New Mexico guard. Both teams would wind up missing their final shots, sending the game into overtime tied at 78.
The first overtime period was a tug of war between the two teams. Both the Lobos and the Wolf Pack opened the five minute period with 3-point shots from Mashburn and Lucas, respectively. After, New Mexico went on an almost three-minute, 6-1 run, going up by five with only one-minute, 13 seconds left. Nevada did not give in. Thanks to a 3-pointer from Darrion Williams, Wolf Pack forward, a five-second violation from New Mexico, and a field goal from Blackshear, the Wolf Pack tied the game up with 15 seconds left in the period.
The Lobos would miss their final shot in the period, pushing the game to double overtime with both teams tied at 87.
Double overtime was a riveting free throw shootout, as every point scored from either side came from free throws after the first 30 seconds. Nevada got out to a quick lead thanks to Lucas going 4-4 from the line in the period. Despite this, New Mexico would make it a close game, tying it with 44 seconds left.
With 14 seconds left, Morris Udeze, New Mexico forward, committed a flagrant one foul, giving Daniel Foster, Nevada guard, two free throws, making only one, and Nevada the ball afterwards. Baker would be fouled during the last Nevada possession, making his two free throws and putting the Pack up by three.
In the last possession of the game, Jaelen House, New Mexico guard, tried for a 3-point shot, but was smothered by Nevada defense and missed. Lucas got the defensive rebound from that shot, sealing the game. After 50 minutes of play, Nevada won 97-94.
The energy in Lawlor was electric upon the win.
With their win, the Wolf Pack moves to 16-5 overall, 6-2 in conference play. The win also catapulted Nevada to second place in the Mountain West conference, only trailing San Diego State who is 6-1. The team’s next game will be on Jan. 28, where the Pack will take on the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Rebels in an away game.
Derek Raridon can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.