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Gut check: Nevada rallies late to take down No. 20 ASU

Sixth-ranked Wolf Pack move to 9-0 start, best in school history

NCAA Basketball: Nevada at Southern California Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The sixth-ranked Nevada Wolf Pack erased a season-high 15-point deficit to steal a 72-66 victory over the No. 20 ASU Sun Devils Friday at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.

The Wolf Pack secured their first 9-0 start to the season in program history. Head coach Eric Musselman recorded his 90th career win with Nevada in the process. It’s easy to tell that Musselman was pumped after the Pack clawed their way back thanks to a gritty performance on both ends of the court.

THE RUNDOWN:

OFFENSE:

  • Nevada shot 45 percent from the field and a season-low 17 percent from three (3-18). It wasn’t pretty by any means, but Caleb Martin finished with a team-high 15 points, 12 of which came in the second half. Jordan Caroline moved to 14th on the Wolf Pack all-time scoring list, he added 16 points and eight rebounds.
  • The Pack struggled offensively in the half-court set and couldn’t buy a bucket for a majority of the first half, they mustered just 24 points on 8-25 shooting and fell to a 12-point deficit heading into halftime. Nevada shook off the rust and shot a blistering 57 percent from the field in the second half. Caleb Martin’s only three of the game gave the Pack their first lead of the night.
  • Iron Man: Cody Martin tallied 9 points, five assists, three rebounds and one block in 37 minutes. He’s had three-straight games of 37 minutes or more. Martin’s court vision was crucial down the stretch, but he took it upon himself to seal the game with a contested left-handed layup off the glass.

DEFENSE:

  • The Wolf Pack held the Sun Devils to just 40 percent from the field and 25 percent from behind the arc. Luguentz Dort showed why he’s one of the top players in the PAC-12, the 6’4” freshman guard scored a game-high 24 points and four rebounds. Senior Zylan Cheatham added 13 points and 10 rebounds. Both players were forces inside and scored effortless layups in the paint.
  • Nevada forced 17 turnovers, including a season-high three steals from senior Tre’Shawn Thurman. Thurman shut down the left side of the court and defended the perimeter well in both halves. They also recorded five blocks, two of which came from freshman Jordan Brown. The Pack were out-rebounded for the first time this season 40-31.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

As stated previously, the Nevada Wolf Pack can beat their opponent in multiple ways, and it showed Saturday night. Even when Nevada shoots a season-low percentage from three, the Pack score from inside or out in transition. No matter the deficit, it’s hard to count their experienced personnel out of any game. Nevada’s schedule will remain tough with three more non-conference games, but this win helps keep their identity as one of the most dangerous teams in the country.

NEXT UP:

Nevada will face Grand Canyon University during the Jerry Colangelo Classic Dec. 9 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Antelopes are 5-3 overall this season coming off a 69-67 thriller over Boise State Dec. 1.