The sixth-ranked Nevada Wolf Pack headed into Viejas Arena winners of its last 10 games, but constant offensive struggles throughout the course of the game added a second loss to the season, 65-57 to the San Diego State Aztecs Wednesday.
Nevada’s 57 points marked a new season-low, and this loss may have serious implications on its seeding in the NCAA Tournament. It also puts their top-10 status in jeopardy, once again.
- The Wolf Pack shot a dismal 34 percent from the field and 30 percent from three (7-23). Just one player scored in double-figures and offensive struggles put them down double-digits in the early going. Despite a disastrous start to the game, Nevada clawed its way back and cut the deficit to single-digits, but they couldn’t connect from three-point territory or the free throw line when it mattered most.
- Lone Wolf: Caleb Martin was the only player in double-figures, scoring 20 points on 5-14 shooting. Martin’s shot from the perimeter failed to do much damage, but he connected on seven of eight free throws and was a key cog in brining the Wolf Pack back in the game.
- Caroline’s Shooting Woes: Jordan Caroline was the only Wolf Pack player to tally double-digits in every game heading into tonight, that 25-game streak was snapped as Caroline posted eight points on 3-12 shooting from the field and 0-5 from three. For once this season, Caroline was actually human. He struggled to score anything down low and the Aztecs did a great job of letting him free on the perimeter. Despite the shooting woes, Caroline’s layup cut the Pack’s deficit to six.
- Early Struggles (Again): Nevada’s first-half struggles were a thing of the past for the past couple weeks, they scored 90 points or more in three of its last four games. The Aztecs clamped down on the perimeter and forced the Pack into tough shots late in the shot clock. As a result, Nevada trailed 30-21 heading into the second half.
- Nevada held SDSU to 39 percent from the field and 31 percent from behind the arc. Three players scored in double-figures and the Aztecs found timely baskets to hold off the Pack’s late surge. Jeremy Hemsley and Devin Watson each scored a team-high 15 points. Jalen McDaniels added 10 points on 4-15 shooting.
- Turnovers: SDSU took care of the basketball, totaling just 13 turnovers and forcing the Pack to run its offense from the half court. That and stingy defense were a couple keys to building a commanding lead.
- Nevada had just five steals, but totaled seven blocks as well. Its defense down the stretch kept the Pack’s deficit from expanding to the twenties or thirties.
It’s safe to say SDSU is Nevada’s kryptonite. The Aztecs play the Pack real tough and the Pack were welcomed by a packed, rowdy crowd at Viejas. The Aztecs deserve plenty of credit in this mathup, McDaniels was limited to 10 points yet they squeaked out a win over a solid Nevada squad. For the Pack, only time will tell if their status as one of the top teams in the nation take a dip or not.
Nevada heads back to Lawlor Events Center Saturday, Feb. 23 in a matchup against the Fresno State Bulldogs. Fresno State is 19-7 overall and 10-4 in conference play this season.