Through a bit of grit, grind, heart and toughness, the sixth-ranked Nevada Wolf Pack squeaked past a feisty Fresno State Bulldogs squad 74-68 Saturday at Lawlor Events Center. It was a physical game to say the least, but tons of highlights and big moments came through after all was said and done.
The Pack were in jeopardy of losing the No. 1 spot in the Mountain West. An 8-0 run sealed the victory and brought the 11,092 fans to their feet.
- Nevada shot 44 percent from the field and 42 percent from three-point territory (10-24). Four players scored in double-figures. Jazz Johnson scored 10 points in his first start of the season. Jordan Caroline recorded 17 points and six rebounds.
- Spark off the Bench (Part 2): Tre’Shawn Thurman stuffed the stat sheet with 14 points, a team-high 10 rebounds and four assists in 34 minutes off the bench. Thurman’s all-around performance was crucial for the Wolf pack and his thunderous slam closed the game out.
- Caleb Martin, the Shot Creator: Caleb Martin scored a team-high 24 points on 5-13 shooting. His relentless hustle for the ball got him nicked up throughout the game, but he hit several big shots when the game was close and intense.
- Foul Trouble: The physical brand of basketball translated to the officiating department as well. Both teams combined for 42 personal fouls, several of which brought the fans at Lawlor Events Center to their feet.
- Rowdy Lawlor: Nevada was treated to a paid attendance of 11,019 in downtown Reno. This marks the seventh time this season the Wolf Pack has surpassed an attendance of 11,000 or more. As always, the place erupts when Caroline hits a three-pointer to tie the game with under eight minutes to go.
- The Wolf Pack held the Bulldogs to 45 percent shooting from the floor and 42 percent from behind the arc (11-26). Nate Grimes tallied sixteen points on just nine shots and the Bulldogs’ physical play inside kept the game close all 40 minutes. Braxton Huggins recorded just nine points and fouled out of the game.
- Deshon Taylor, Lawlor Silencer: Fresno State guard tallied a career-high 32 points against Nevada at Lawlor Events Center last season. This time around, he scored a game-high 30 points with five made threes. Taylor singlehandedly brought the Bulldogs back into the game, and he silenced the crowd with deep treys from the logo.
Turnover Battle: Nevada won the turnover battle 17-14. They also out-rebounded the battle 23-21. Those two areas of the game were recipes for success, as the Pack kept the Bulldogs off the boards and took care of the basketball on the other end.
Nevada needed this one, simple as that. Both teams went at it with relentless hustle and aggression, making it arguably one of the best games of the year. At the end of the day, Nevada made the one play that put them on top, one that keeps their season afloat.
Nevada faces the UNLV Rebels on Wednesday, Feb. 27. at Lawlor Events Center. The Rebels are 15-11 overall and 9-5 in conference play this season.