clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Wolf Pack basketball opponent preview: Nevada seeks series sweep over New Mexico

Mark Rogers

The Nevada Wolf Pack close its two-game season series versus the New Mexico Lobos Saturday in Lubbock, Texas at 7 p.m. PST. The game will air on CBS Sports Network.

Nevada took the first of the two-game set on Thursday, 68-54, pushing its Mountain West record to 2-1 and 7-3 overall. New Mexico dropped to 3-3 and are 0-3 in conference play.

The Pack lead the all-time series 9-7 and possess a four-game win streak over the Lobos. Nevada head coach Steve Alford, the head man of New Mexico from 2007-13, has won all three contests versus the Lobos since departing the program.

Nevada (7-3, 2-1) vs. New Mexico (3-3, 0-3)

When: Saturday, Jan. 2 at 7 p.m. PST

Where: Lubbock, Texas

TV: CBS Sports Network

Online: CBS Sports Network

Matchup history: Nevada leads 9-7

Last meeting: Nevada won 68-54 (Dec. 31, 2020)

Breakdown:

New Mexico is seventh in the Mountain West in scoring at 70.8 points, but are averaging just 53 points per game in three conference games. It is shooting 42.2 percent from the floor and 27.8 percent from beyond the arc through six games — compared to just a 32.7 field goal percentage and 23.7 3-point percentage against Mountain West foes.

During its three-game skid, the Lobos have lost by an average of 24.3 points per game.

Makuach Maluach tops the team in scoring at 15.2 points per game, shooting 48.5 percent from the floor and 43.8 percent from beyond the arc. Maluach has led the team in scoring in five of the team’s six games this season.

On Thursday, Maluach led the team with 15 points on 6-of-14 shooting in 25 minutes, though he shot just 1-of-7 from the free throw line. It was his fourth game with 15-plus points this year. The 6-foot-5 forward also ranks atop the team in rebounding (6.7 rpg), T-2 in steals (0.8) and blocks (0.7).

Rod Brown is the team’s only other double-digit scorer, averaging 10.7 points on 57.1 percent shooting in 21.7 minutes per game.

He trails Maluach in rebounding, hauling in 5.8 rebounds per contest. He is third in assists (2.0 apg) and fourth in blocks (0.5).

In the 68-54 loss, the Lobos struggled significantly from the free throw line. They hit just 15-of-35 free throws — 42.9 percent, its lowest percentage from the stripe this year. Nevada made 77.4 percent of its 31 attempts.

Nevada is sixth in the conference in scoring at 71.1 points per game. It is shooting 43.8 percent form the floor with a 32.5 3-point percentage.

In three Mountain West matchups, the Pack are averaging 69.3 points, netting 43.8 percent of their shots but are shooting a dismal 22.2 percent from outside. In its last two games, they have just six makes on 42 attempts (14.3 percent) from deep.

The Pack is led by the duo of Grant Sherfield and Desmond Cambridge, both of which are in their first season of eligibility with the program.

Sherfield is atop the team in scoring at 16.1 points per game. He also leads the team in assists (5.1 apg) and steals (1.7 spg). The 6-foot-2 guard is shooting 43.1 percent from the floor and a team-best 38.9 percent from beyond the arc.

Cambridge is averaging 15.4 points on 39.7 percent shooting through the team’s first 10 contests. He has four 20-point performances in the last five games, averaging 21.4 points in that span. Over 61 percent of Cambridge’s field goal attempts have come from 3-point range at a 32.1 percent clip.

He ranks atop the Mountain West in field goals (54), field goal attempts (136), 3-point field goals (27) and 3-point attempts (84).

On Thursday, Cambridge and Sherfield combined for 44 of Nevada’s 68 points. Cambridge led the team with 24 while Sherfield added 20 with a team-high two assists.

Zane Meeks is Nevada’s only other double-digit scorer with 10.1 points on 36.7 percent shooting beyond the arc with a team-high 6.9 rebounds per game. Warren Washington, a 7-footer also in his first season of eligibility with Nevada, is averaging 8.8 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.

Prediction:

  • Nevada: 67
  • New Mexico: 59

After Nevada trounced Air Force by 17 points in the first conference game of the season, I predicted Nevada to win by 17 the following game. That did not go well, with the Pack falling 68-66 after a dismal shooting performance — I am not making that same mistake again. Also, more importantly, Thursday’s game was a very physical battle the entirety of the game — despite the Pack winning by 14. I don’t anticipate either team to shoot as poorly as they did in thee series opener; Nevada missed its first 11 3-pointers (and hitting 4-of-18 on the game), while New Mexico shot 31 percent coupled with missing 20 free throws. I expect another competitive affair, but I don’t believe those aforementioned figures carrying over into Saturday. Season record: 7-3

Projected Starting Five:

No. 5 Nevada Wolf Pack (16-9, 10-7)

Position Number Name Class Height PPG RPG APG FG% 3P%
Position Number Name Class Height PPG RPG APG FG% 3P%
G 25 Grant Sherfield Soph. 6-2 18.3 3.7 6.1 43.5 36.9
G 4 Desmond Cambridge Jr. 6-4 16.3 4.4 2.4 41.6 35.4
G 14 Tre Coleman Fr. 6-7 5.7 3.0 1.8 42.5 37.1
F 20 Daniel Foster Fr. 6-6 4.3 2.6 1.5 48.6 45.5
F 5 Warren Washington Soph. 7-0 9.6 5.8 0.8 57.4 ------ (0-1)

New Mexico Lobos (3-3, 0-3)

Position Number Name Class Height PPG RPG APG FG% 3P%
Position Number Name Class Height PPG RPG APG FG% 3P%
G 11 Jeremiah Francis Soph. 6-1 3.2 2.5 2.0 19.0 5.6
G 2 Saquan Singleton Jr. 6-6 7.5 5.3 2.8 40.5 0.0 (0-2)
G 10 Makuach Maluach Sr. 6-5 15.2 6.7 1.0 48.5 43.8
F 5 Rod Brown Jr. 6-8 10.7 5.8 1.5 57.1 --------
F 1 Bayron Matos RS-Fr. 6-9 7.7 5.3 0.7 47.5 --------

Additional links:

Nevada game notes: https://bit.ly/3hxvvPx

New Mexico game notes: https://bit.ly/2Jz2zdl