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Zoe Malen/The Nevada Sagebrush

The Nevada Wolf Pack Men’s basketball team recorded their most impressive win against a ranked opponent this season as they upset the No. 22 Utah State Aggies on the road 77-63 on Feb. 6. 

The Wolf Pack handed the Aggies their first home loss since the 2022 to 2023 season. With the win, Nevada stands at No. 6 place in the Mountain West with a record of 18-5 and 5-4 in conference play.

The Wolf Pack fell behind early, as the Aggies rushed out to an early 15-8 advantage, and both teams struggled to land shots over the first nine minutes.

Tyler Rolison, Nevada guard, followed a missed jumper from Ian Martinez, Utah State guard, and snatched the rebound. Rolison hit Nick Davidson, Nevada forward, for an easy layup to cut the lead 15-10 with 10:41 to play. 

The teams traded baskets on their next possessions, as a Rolison jumper cut the deficit 17-14. Martinez missed another jumper. Tre Coleman, Nevada forward, landed a transition three to tie the game. The play sparked the Wolf Pack offense and they went  on a 9-2 run, highlighted by a Davidson fast-break three-pointer. The Wolf Pack  took a 26-19 lead with 4:35 left.

Both sides landed shots, and Nevada maintained a 31-25 edge with 2:02 remaining. A turnover from Utah State propelled a fast-break opportunity for Coleman as he forced his way to the basket, making the shot and a free throw after he was fouled on the play. The Wolf Pack led 34-35 with 1:50 to go.

Jarod Lucas, Nevada guard, hit a step-back jumper to give the Wolf Pack a 36-27 edge at halftime. 

The Wolf Pack opened the second half matching the Aggies as both sides scored nine points each in the opening four minutes of the second half. 

Following a fast-paced scoring streak, the game started to slow down, as the Aggies fouled the Wolf Pack four times and sent them to the free throw line. After the free throws, Nevada held a 48-41 advantage.

The Wolf Pack got into foul trouble themselves with back-to-back fouls committed by Rolison and Davidson sent the Aggies’ Martinez to the line, where he cut the lead 48-43. Davidson made up for the error, scoring on the Wolf Pack’s ensuing possession. However, the Aggies scored on their next two possessions, highlighted by a Martinez layup, to cut Nevada’s lead to 50-47 with 11:37 remaining.

The Wolf Pack continued to be fouled by the Aggies, leading to four successful free-throw attempts from Lucas and Kenan Blackshear, guard, to put Nevada back up to a three-score lead of 54-47.

Following a missed layup from Blackshear, it appeared as if the Aggies were going to take the ball back for a fast-break score to make it a one-possession game. However, Blackshear had other ideas as he jumped on a poor pass from Isaac Johnson, Utah State center, taking the ball the other way for a successful layup. 

This play seemingly brought momentum back to the Wolf Pack, as in seven minutes they went on a 17-9 run. The Pack led by as many as 18 points before closing out Utah State 77-63.

The win marked the first time the Wolf Pack beat a top-25 team on the road since an 86-76 win over the No. 15 UNLV Rebels on Dec. 10, 1981. 

In a game where the Wolf Pack’s two best scorers – Blackshear and Lucas – shot a collective 9-25, Nevada still managed to beat a ranked team on the road by 14 points. The offensive explosion can largely be attributed to Davidson, who recorded a 25-point, 10-rebound stat line on 10-14 shooting, following up his 22-point, 11-rebound game vs San Jose State. 

A win over any top-25 team is an accomplishment in itself, but the road won’t get any easier for the Wolf Pack as they welcome two ranked opponents in No. 24 San Diego State and No. 25 New Mexico to Lawlor in the coming week.

The Wolf Pack’s next challenge will come at home, where they will take on the No. 24 San Diego State Aztecs (17-5, 6-3 MWC) on Feb. 9 at 5 pm.

James Wolfgang Perez can be reached via email or via Twitter @JamesWPerezUNR

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