The Nevada Wolf Pack Men’s Basketball team fell flat in a blowout 89-55 loss on the road against the No. 25 New Mexico Lobos on Jan. 28. The Wolf Pack had their worst shooting performance of the season in a game where they trailed from start to finish.
With the loss, Nevada falls to sixth place in the Mountain West, with a record of 16-5 overall and 3-4 in conference play.
The Wolf Pack struggled to get anything going early, trailing 10-0 in the opening four minutes. Poor shooting, an inability to grab offensive rebounds, a lack of hustle on defensive fast breaks and turnovers led to a poor start as the Lobos moved up and down the court with ease, capitalizing on Nevada’s miscues. Open shots were hard to come by for the Wolf Pack, as the entire team was struggling to find any consistency as they trailed 23-8 with 9:19 remaining.
A late 7-0 run was ignited by a steal from Tre Coleman, Nevada forward, which turned into a transition three from Jarod Lucas, Nevada guard, to cut the deficit to 38-24 at the end of the first half. For the second time this season, Nevada trailed by 14+ points at halftime.
To open the second half, the Lobos extinguished any momentum that the Wolf Pack still had, scoring the first five points and taking a 19-point lead with 18:40 remaining. Nevada would proceed to go on a 10-2 run, as noted by a fast break dunk by Nick Davidson, Nevada forward, followed up by a tough three pointer from Hunter McIntosh, Nevada guard, to get the game within single digits 53-44 with 10:11 to go.
It appeared like momentum was finally starting to swing the Wolf Pack’s way until back-to-back threes from Tru Washington, New Mexico guard, put the Lobos back up by 15. Three pointers would continue to land for the Lobos while the Wolf Pack continued to struggle to find a rhythm, coughing up four turnovers in the last five minutes as the Lobos would go on a 17-2 run to put the game out of reach at 85-53 with 1:40 left.
It just wasn’t Nevada’s day, as they would fall by a final score of 89-55 in a game in which they failed to ever capture a lead.
No Wolf Pack player scored double digits in the team’s most lopsided loss since the 2014 to 2015 season, where they lost at Colorado State by a score of 98-42 on Jan. 14, 2015. The offensive woes can be attributed to a multitude of factors, such as poor shot selection, poor rebounding and producing 15 total turnovers.
The two offensive focal points in Nevada guards, Jarod Lucas and Kenan Blackshear, each scored nine points on a collective 6-22 shooting. The team shot a season low 34%, a drastic decline from their season average of 48%.
The Wolf Pack’s inconsistent defense has proven to be a weak point in their last three road games to conference rivals San Diego State, Wyoming, and No. 25 New Mexico. Nevada lost all three games, by an average margin of 17 points, and allowed 86 points per game on the road compared to 61 points per game at home. New Mexico had five players score in double figures; as a team, they shot 59% from the field, a whopping 12% rise from their season average of 47%.
In a conference that boasts one of the best win percentages in all the NCAA, the Wolf Pack will need to right the ship quickly as they drop to sixth in the Mountain West standings.
The Wolf Pack’s next challenge will come at home, where they will take on the San Jose State Spartans (8-12, 1-6 MWC) on Feb. 2 at 8 p.m.
James Wolfgang Perez can be reached via email firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @JamesWPerezUNR