What turned out to be a Wednesday night thriller, the San Jose State Spartans (6-11, 2-3) squeak past the Nevada Wolf Pack 70-68 at Provident Credit Union Event Center.
The Spartans did not hit a single made field goal in the final seven minutes, seven seconds -- missing its last seven shots from the field -- and still pulling through with the win.
Wednesday’s loss drops Nevada to 10-6 with a 3-1 conference record. The Spartans snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Wolf Pack, which dated back to 2014.
Nevada was unable to hit a high percentage of its shots on the evening, shooting 38.3 percent from the floor -- its worst shooting performance since the Nov. 16 battle versus USC. The Pack also shot 40.0 percent from deep on 25 attempts.
Three scorers reached double-digits for Nevada. Jalen Harris led the Pack with a team-high 20 points on 7-of-17 shooting, dishing out a team-high five assists. Lindsey Drew totaled 15 points on 5-of-8 from the floor, hitting two threes.
Jazz Johnson, coming a career-best 34-point performance versus Boise State, had 11 points on 3-of-8 shooting from deep. Johnson and Drew tied a team-high with six rebounds apiece.
Nevada head coach Steve Alford has emphasized that his team needs get to the free-throw line more often, after Nevada’s combined for a 24 free-throw attempts in its last three games -- the worst three-game stretch the Wolf Pack has had from the stripe this season. The Pack did just that, shooting 19 free throws, but only hitting 12 of them (.631).
San Jose State appeared at the stripe 12 more times, which was a key difference-maker down the stretch. The Spartans hit 24-of-31 from the free throw line, good enough for 77.4 percent.
The Spartans shot 35.2 percent on the evening. Coming into Wednesday, Nevada placed No. 7 in the nation in opponent three-point field goal percentage at 26.7 percent. Strong contests on the perimeter from the Pack defense held the Spartans to 24.2 percent shooting from beyond the arc. The Spartans were last in the conference in three-point percentage (.301) heading into tonight.
Seneca Knight led Spartan scorers with a career-high 28 points on 8-of-17 shooting with nine rebounds. Brae Ivey added 17 points on 4-of-13 shooting from three-point range, along with a team-high four assists. Ivey is now averaging 18.0 points per game on 16-for-37 (.432) from deep in his last four contests.
The Spartans out-rebounded Nevada 41-38. They did a good job limiting the Pack on the offensive glass, as the Spartans allowed seven offensive rebounds and only four second-chance points.
Back-to-back three-pointers from Harris and Drew put Nevada ahead 20-15 with 12:24 left in the first half.
Nevada’s lead increased to 27-21 after a three-pointer from Johnson, which broke the soul in his shoe, prompting him to leave the game momentarily. He returned with 5:19 left in the first half.
A tip-in from Christian Anigwe sent the contest into halftime tied at 34. The Spartans did a good job defensively on the Wolf Pack in the first half.
After hitting eight of its first 13 shots, the Wolf Pack hit only four of its final 18 shots in the half. They shot 38.7 percent in the first half compared to SJSU’s 37.5 percent. However, Nevada shot 45.5 percent from three-point range compared to SJSU’s 21.1 percent.
San Jose State jumped ahead 43-38 to begin the second half after a jumper from Knight. Nevada went on a 9-0 run that was capped off on a three-pointer from Zane Meeks, prompting a Spartan timeout.
Nevada took a 51-45 lead with 11:38 remaining in the contest. The Pack went cold, as San Jose State stormed on a 17-4 run in the next seven minutes, 18 seconds, commanding a 62-55 lead with 4:21 remaining.
Nevada wasn’t finished yet. Two threes cut the Spartan lead to 64-63 with 2:49 remaining. A three-pointer from Meeks tied the contest at 66 with under a minute remaining, but Nevada was unable to secure the lead in the final stretch.
The Wolf Pack have its first conference road test on Saturday night as they take on Utah State (13-5, 2-3). Tip off will be at 5 p.m. PST on CBS Sports Network.
Johncarlos is getting tonight's block party started nice and early!— Nevada Basketball (@NevadaHoops) January 9, 2020
We've hit a media timeout with 15:15 to go, trailing 12-9. Jalen Harris with five quick points.#BattleBorn pic.twitter.com/01ODQ5JO47
Now Lindsey hits one from deep! We've extended the lead to five.#BattleBorn pic.twitter.com/0DD46PswAf— Nevada Basketball (@NevadaHoops) January 9, 2020
Jazz open in the corner will usually result in this. ⬇️#BattleBorn pic.twitter.com/m1mBeK11Q4— Nevada Basketball (@NevadaHoops) January 9, 2020
Lindsey keeps it close and hits one from deep!#BattleBorn pic.twitter.com/53RfXJrOvi— Nevada Basketball (@NevadaHoops) January 9, 2020
TWO. POINT. GAME. Jalen drills one to get to 20 for the seventh time this season!#BattleBorn pic.twitter.com/QWZo2iKuKy— Nevada Basketball (@NevadaHoops) January 9, 2020
JAZZ BRINGS US WITHIN ONE! He gets to nine on the night with his third trey of the evening.#BattleBorn pic.twitter.com/LRcdU2QoKA— Nevada Basketball (@NevadaHoops) January 9, 2020
ZANE FOR THREE TO TIE IT ALL UP#BattleBorn pic.twitter.com/XdKzp8P5fW— Nevada Basketball (@NevadaHoops) January 9, 2020
We come up on the wrong end of a nailbiter in San José.#BattleBorn pic.twitter.com/zAz2RePr9Y— Nevada Basketball (@NevadaHoops) January 9, 2020