The Nevada Wolf Pack Men’s basketball team responded to their worst loss in the Steve Alford era, a 34-point loss at New Mexico on Jan. 28, with a win over San Jose State at home, defeating the Spartans 90-60 at home on Feb. 2.
The Wolf Pack took an early lead and never looked back in the team’s second-most lopsided victory over a Mountain West opponent under Alford, which coincidentally was also a 90-60 win over San Jose State on Feb. 17, 2022. The win keeps Nevada in sixth place in the Mountain West, with an overall record of 17-5 and 4-4 in conference play.
Nevada jumped out to an early 18-8 lead in the opening six minutes of the game. The Spartans responded with a contested three-pointer to cut the Wolf Pack lead 18-11. San Jose State would commit seven fouls over five minutes to allow Nevada to take a 28-11 advantage off of free throws.
A missed free throw from Tylan Pope, Nevada forward, appeared to give the Spartans their first break of the game. However, Nick Davidson, Nevada forward, hustled for the offensive rebound and passed the ball back to Pope who would posterize the Spartan defenders on a slam dunk that had Lawlor roaring. The Wolf Pack would take a 30-11 lead with 8:02 to play.
Back-to-back three-pointers made by Tyler Rolison, Nevada guard, and Pope would let the Wolf Pack cruise on a 19-13 run to cap off the first half. Davidson was all over the court and had one of his best first-half performances of the season as he recorded 12 points and 7 rebounds. Nevada took a 49-24 lead at halftime.
To open the second half, the Wolf Pack came out firing in the first four minutes, hitting on their first seven shotsDavidson connected on two consecutive three-pointers, and Jarod Lucas, Nevada guard, scored seven points on a three-pointer and two fast-break layups. The scoring spree helped the Wolf Pack to an 18-0 run, extending the lead to 67-24 with 15:58 remaining.
The teams would trade buckets back and forth following the Wolf Pack’s hot start. The Spartans would go on a late 20-10 garbage time run, that would prove to be too little too late. Nevada would lead by as many as 43 points before closing out San Jose State in a resounding 90-60 victory.
The Wolf Pack offense was clicking on all cylinders, in a game where every Nevada player scored, and had five score in double figures after no player had done so at New Mexico.
The star of the game was Davidson, who etched a 22-point, 11 rebound stat line on 8-12 shooting in his best performance in conference play. The Wolf Pack’s leading scorer on the season, Jarod Lucas, Nevada guard, had his own bounce-back game scoring 20 points on 8-15 shooting, following a nine-point outing at New Mexico.
“We talked about that for four days, the jobs of starters, and I thought today they did what they were supposed to do.” Steve Alford, head coach of the Nevada men’s basketball team, said in a press conference after the game. “We had a good start to the game and a really good start to the second half. Nick had a great game and Jarod was very efficient tonight.”.
Nevada recorded its fourth-highest-scoring offensive performance of the season, which can be attributed to the team’s turnover-free play. The Wolf Pack had a collective 23 assists to only five turnovers, tied for their second-lowest of the season.
The win keeps Nevada in sixth place in the Mountain West standings. The Wolf Pack will have the opportunity to make up ground as they will face off against No. 17 Utah State on the road, and San Diego State and No. 19 New Mexico at home, three of the top four teams in the conference in their ensuing three games.
Davidson acknowledged Nevada’s early struggles in conference play.
“We had some slippage through the break and in January,” Davidson said. “But we’re back on track, playing at Logan is a tough place to play, but I think we can get it done.”
The Wolf Pack’s next challenge will be their toughest yet, where they will travel to Logan, Utah to take on the No. 17 Utah State Aggies (19-3, 7-2 MWC) on Feb. 6 at 6 p.m.
James Wolfgang Perez can be reached via email firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @JamesWPerezUNR