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Nevada vs Air Force game preview: Wolf Pack open conference play against Falcons

The Wolf Pack host the Air Force Academy on Saturday as Nevada looks to extend their winning streak to start conference play.

Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

For Nevada's leading scorer DJ Fenner, the Mountain West conference opener against the Air Force Academy on Saturday afternoon is a "fresh slate" for the team. The Wolf Pack started and closed out non-conference play winning two consecutive games but in between those winning streaks, the Wolf Pack lost eight straight games which was the longest losing streak Nevada suffered since the 2012-13 season.

The offense for Nevada has been the issue in non-conference play and even though the Wolf Pack have scored 80 points in the last two games, Nevada is only averaging 62.6 points per game while shooting only 39 percent from the field and also shooting a terrible 26 percent from three point range . If Nevada plans on being competitive in the  Mountain West, they need to find consistent offensive production from players like Fenner, junior forward AJ West and guard Marqueze Coleman but if they struggle offensively like they did during that eight game losing streak, then the Wolf Pack will join San Jose State in the bottom of the Mountain West standings.

However, the  Wolf Pack's defense has been very good so far this season as Nevada is holding opponents to 37 percent shooting from the field which ranks them third in the Mountain West in that defensive category. Nevada will need to bring their defense to the Lawlor Events Center as they face an Air Force team that is so far, one of the best offensive teams in the conference. Air Force is led by senior guard Max Yon as he is averaging 14.8 points per game. The Falcons are second in the Mountain West in field goal shooting (49 percent) and three point shooting percentage (38 percent).

"Not giving up many backdoors for layups, getting back in transition and guarding 3 point shooters."
Carter said in how to stop the Falcons Princeton-style attack.

Carter also said that Air Force has "more guys that can shoot the 3 point shot than last year. That makes it double trouble. Now you have to guard the shooters and he can go backdoor and get a layup. We can't make a mistake."

The Falcons have already played a conference game on New Year's Eve in which the Falcons lost  53-49 against San Diego State. In the game against San Diego State, the Falcons over came a 19 point deficit to almost over take SDSU but a turnover in the final seconds of the game when guard Zach Kocur could not handle a Max Yon pass, cost the Falcons a chance to win the game.

For the Wolf Pack, if their offense can find consistent scoring and if they can defend the three point line and shut down the back door cuts of Air Force, then the Wolf Pack can start conference play fresh with a win.