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Zoe Malen / Nevada Sagebrush

Building on momentum gained from their comeback victory against UNLV on Feb. 17, the Nevada men’s basketball team dominated the Wyoming Cowboys with a convincing 76-58 home win on Feb. 20. The win boosted the Wolf Pack to fourth place in the Mountain West, with an overall record of 21-6 and a conference record of 8-5. 

The Wolf Pack snapped a seven-game losing streak against the Cowboys, as they split the season series after a 98-95 road loss on Jan. 20. 

Kenan Blackshear, Nevada guard, opened the scoring on a fast-break layup after a missed jumper from Sam Griffin, Wyoming guard, to give the Pack a 2-0 lead in the first minute.

Both sides scored points until Tre Coleman, Nevada forward, made back to back shots from three-point range to put the Wolf Pack up 10-4 with 16:11 to play.

After two fouls from Wyoming, Blackshear and Coleman each converted on a pair of free throws to add four points to Nevada’s total. In addition, Coleman continued his efficient start by hitting his third bucket in a row from beyond the arc to extend the Wolf Pack’s lead to double-digits at 17-7 with 12:57 left in the first half.

Nevada capitalized on its hot start by connecting three three-pointers by three different players. Jarod Lucas and Tyler Rolison, Nevada guards, and Nick Davidson, Nevada forward, contributed to the run. The team orchestrated a 19-8 run, which pushed the lead to 37-16 with 3:49 remaining.

As both teams exchanged scores, the momentum once again swung in Nevada’s way when Lucas drained another three-pointer to give the Wolf Pack a 23-point half time lead, at 44-21. Coleman led the Pack with 13 first-half points.

Nevada’s offensive dominance continued into the second half, as Davidson and Lucas seamlessly sank consecutive three-pointers. The quick scores put the Wolf Pack up by 29 points — 50-21 with 18:19 left in the game.

However, Wyoming was not put away so easily. The Cowboys capitalized on a cold shooting stretch from Nevada by going on a 15-2 scoring run, capped off by a fast break layup from Griffin. 

Davidson halted the Cowboys scoring run with a free throw, then built on that momentum with a subsequent dunk. Lucas sank his fourth three-pointer to propel the Wolf Pack to a 58-38 lead within the final 10:13.

Both teams exchanged baskets equally over the final 10 minutes, as Coleman showcased his long range accuracy with his fourth three-pointer of the game over that stretch. As the clock hit triple zeros, Nevada secured a dominant 18-point win over the Cowboys.

Coleman and Lucas powered the Nevada offense and combined for 39 points. The duo had an efficient night as they shot 8-16 from three-point range, which propelled the team to one of its best performances beyond the arc at 42 percent. This was a notable improvement compared to the Pack’s last three contests where they shot 26 percent from three.

“If you go back and look at all of our games, they don’t guard me,” Coleman said in a press conference after the game. “Starting with my freshman year, they don’t put a stick hand up, so I just keep shooting it.” 

In the victory, Lucas tallied 2,000 career collegiate points to become one of only 700 players to do so.

“I give credit to my coaches, I was able to get a lot of open looks and they gave me some plays,” Lucas said. “I forced the cause towards the end, but my teammates knew and did their best to find me. It was great to get it out of the way and do it at home in front of the crowd who always supports us really well.”

The Wolf Pack had better success with their ball control as they boasted a +8 turnover differential on the night — a needed turnaround after a -7 differential in their prior outing at UNLV.

While Coleman had a team high 20 points, his impact extended beyond the offensive side of the ball. On the defensive end, Coleman stifled Wyoming’s leading scorer, Griffin, who averages 17 points per game on 44 percent shooting. Instead, Griffin put up just six points on 2-9 shooting, against Nevada’s top defender.

Steve Alford, head coach of the Nevada men’s basketball team, noted that Coleman enjoys playing against Wyoming — though the reason is unknown.

“Four assists, zero turnovers, goes 7-12, makes four threes, gets three steals, and goes against a very good guard in Griffin,” Alford said. “I think he starts our defense, when we all guard the way we are supposed to guard, it opens things up offensively.”

The Wolf Pack’s next challenge will come on the road as they travel to San Jose, Calif. to take on the San Jose State Spartans (9-18, 2-12 MWC) on Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. 
James Wolfgang Perez can be reached via email or via Twitter @JamesWPerezUNR

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