A late second-half surge fueled the Nevada Wolf Pack 84-74 win over the New Mexico Lobos on Saturday in Lubbock, Texas. The game was held in Texas due to current COVID-19 protocols in New Mexico, where it was originally supposed to be held.
After trailing 70-69 with 4:50 to go, Nevada closed the contest on a 15-4 run. It involved three makes from 3-point range — two from Desmond Cambridge and the other from Grant Sherfield.
Nevada sweeps the road series between the two foes, winning by an average of 12 points. The Pack have been victorious in the last five meetings between the two programs.
Saturday’s win advances it to 8-3 with a 3-1 Mountain West conference record. New Mexico drops its fourth straight, falling to 3-4 with an 0-4 conference record. It has lost by an average of 20.8 points per game in its four losses.
Nevada had a tremendous shooting performance after struggling in its last two contests. It shot 49 percent from the floor and 52 percent from deep; it went 40.6 percent from the field with a dismal 14.3 percentage from outside in the last two games. The Pack netted a season-high 13 3-pointers in the victory.
They had five double figure scorers. Sherfield tallied his four 20-point outing on the year. He totaled a career-best 28 points on 6-of-13 shooting, including 5-of-8 from deep and 11-of-12 from the free throw line. The 6-foot-2 guard also tallied a team-best eight assists.
Cambridge was second on the team with 15 points on 5-of-17 shooting, tying Warren Washington for a team-most six rebounds. Kane Milling added a career-high 14 points on a perfect 4-of-4 shooting from 3-point range. Zane Meeks and Washington finished with 10 points apiece; Meeks shot 3-of-4 from the field while Washington went 4-for-6.
The Lobos had their best shooting performance of Mountain West play. They shot 45.1 percent from field and 39.1 percent from 3-point range; New Mexico had not shot over 34 percent from the floor and 3-point line since the beginning of conference play.
Keith McGee led the Lobos in scoring with 14 points, going 5-for-11 from the floor and 4-of-10 from beyond the arc. Makuach Maluach, the team’s top scorer entering Saturday (15.2 ppg), tallied 13 points on 6-of-12 shooting. Maluach added team-highs in both rebounds (6) and assists (5).
Saquan Singleton and Jeremiah Francis rounded out the Lobos’ double-digit scoring, recording 10 points apiece.
New Mexico, the nation’s top offensive rebounding team (17.3 orpg) entering Saturday, totaled 11 offensive boards after totaling 18 on Thursday. However, Nevada out-rebounded New Mexico by a slim 29-28 margin.
Struggles continued from the Lobos on the free throw line. They went 19-for-29 (65.5 percent) from the stripe, though it went 12-for-20 in the second half (6-for-10 in the final 10 minutes). Nevada went 21-of-25 (84 percent) from the charity stripe.
Nevada began slowly, as Rod Brown’s layup gave New Mexico the early 10-3 advantage in the first three minutes, 32 seconds of the contest. The Pack missed fiver of their first six shots from the floor.
Cambridge’s 3-pointer gave Nevada its first lead, 13-12. It was the team’s first make from outside on their fourth attempt; it missed its first 11 3-point attempts Thursday. Sherfield’s 3-pointer widened Nevada’s lead to 21-17 with 10:05 left in the first half.
Meeks’ two-handed slam sparked a 12-3 Pack run that awarded them with the 35-22 advantage with 3:13 remaining. New Mexico went just 1-of-10 and missed nine consecutive shots over that span.
The Lobos responded, ending the final 3:13 on a 14-4 run — trailing just 39-36 at halftime. Nevada shot 42.3 percent from the floor and 30.8 percent from deep, while New Mexico shot 41.4 percent with a 41.7 3-point percentage in the first half.
After beginning the first three minutes of the second half without a basket, the Lobos went on a 14-0 run — capped-off by a 3-pointer by Isaiah Marin — giving them the 51-46 advantage with 13:20 remaining.
The Pack reclaimed the lead 52-51 after back-to-back 3-pointers from Milling. Milling’s third 3-pointer of the half came with 7:33 remaining, giving the Pack a 69-60 lead. The Lobos responded with a 10-0 run, prompting a Nevada timeout.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from Cambridge awarded Nevada with the 75-70 lead with 3:40 remaining. Another made 3-pointer from Sherfield — giving it an 80-70 lead with 2:20 left — was the dagger.
KANE MILLING AGAIN FROM DEEP!! Nevada re-takes the lead pic.twitter.com/lnpfAPQHZz— Pack Center (@PackCenterNV) January 3, 2021