No. 7 Nevada traveled to Laramie, Wyoming, Saturday night to take on the Cowboys. The last time Nevada played at the Arena-Auditorium, it ended in a 104-103 double overtime loss for the Pack. Head coach Eric Musselman reminded his team of this fact during a shootaround before the game. Nevada didn’t let history repeat itself as they defeated the Cowboys, 82-49. The 49 points Nevada gave up is tied for their lowest allowed point total on the season — Nevada held Utah State to 49 points earlier in the season.
In the previous three games, Wyoming had made 37 three-point shots. The Pack held Wyoming to just five in the game. Defensively, Tre’Shawn Thurman led the Pack. Thurman recorded 12 rebounds — 10 defensive — and scored 12 points on the night. His performance earned him his first double-double of the season.
The Cowboys implemented a 2-3 zone defense in an attempt to slow down the Pack’s offense. Unfortunately for Wyoming, it didn’t help very much. Nevada had five double-digit scorers on the night. Trey Porter led the Pack in total points with 14, followed by Jordan Caroline and Caleb Martin who had 13 points each. Caroline passed Terrance Green to become the sixth-leading scorer in school history. Jazz Johnson was the leading scorer off the bench shooting four for five from the perimeter, earning 12 points on the night.
In addition to Johnson’s performance off the bench, two other bench players contributed positively to the Pack’s offensive performance. Freshman Jordan Brown record six points, a block and a steal in 21 minutes on the court. Nisré Zouzoua scored four points over his six minutes of play.
Wyoming couldn’t seem to find their rhythm on the court offensively, as only two players hit double-digit point totals. Junior guard Justin James led his team with 16 points. James only made 25 percent of his field goal attempts from the court, but went 8-11 from the free throw line. Small forward Trevon Taylor scored 13 points, shooting a perfect 4-4 on the free throw line. Taylor also recorded eight total rebounds throughout the game leading the Cowboys in the category.
The game began with Porter winning the opening tip-off. Nevada capitalized on the early advantage with Cody Martin scoring the first four points of the contest. Wyoming responded with a Taylor three point jumper to bring the Cowboys back to within one. Cody Martin continued to build off of his fast start scoring two of the next three baskets for Nevada pushing the Wolf Pack ahead 11-5 in the first five minutes of the half.
Nevada controlled the pace on the court, going on a 13-5 run over the next five minutes. Porter finished the Nevada run with a successful three-point play putting the Pack up by 14.
Nevada and Wyoming traded blows for the remainder of the first half as the two teams went shot for shot with each other. Nevada scored 12 points in the last 10 minutes, while Wyoming scored 10 during the same time frame. The Pack went into the half with a 36-20 lead after Johnson drilled a three-point attempt to end the period.
Wyoming had first possession in the second, which led to a dunk by Wyoming’s A.J. Banks. Back-to-back Trey Porter turnovers gave the Cowboys two more chances to score, but they failed to capitalize.
With roughly 14 and a half minutes left on the clock, Thurman found Caroline cutting up the lane for a dunk. The dunk was a dagger to the Wyoming bench, as the Cowboys never shrunk the lead to more than 18 following the play.
Nevada’s biggest lead of the night came with just over six minutes left in the game. Porter hit a jumper to increase the Nevada lead to 31. Nevada played reserved for the remainder of the game. Being content to run the shot clock down and take the highest percentage shot available. Musselman subbed out the starting five at this point for the rest of the game and gave bench players such as David Cunningham and others a chance to get some minutes.
The final score from Laramie was an 82-49 victory for the Wolf Pack. Now at 24-1, the Wolf Pack are off to the best start in school history. Nevada’s 11-1 conference record is also the best in school history.
Nevada stays on the road for their next game, as they travel to San Diego to take on 16-9 San Diego State on Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 8 p.m. Nevada will look to stay in good standing as they go up against the Aztecs with Selection Sunday only a month away.
Ryan Freeberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @SagebrushSports.