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Second-half rally leads Nevada past Washington 81-62

NCAA Basketball: Mountain West Conference Tournament- San Diego St vs Nevada Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Nevada’s second-half rally paved the way to its 81-62 victory over the Washington Huskies on Wednesday in their final game of the Crossover Classic in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Down 45-44 with 13:30 remaining, the Wolf Pack strung together a 17-4 run over the next 5:09 to take the 61-49 lead — courtesy of a pull-up 3-pointer by Grant Sherfield, who finished with a game-high 23 points on 8-of-16 shooting (after a 1-for-8 start) with team highs in assists (5) and steals (2).

Washington quickly cut it to seven, but a pair of Desmond Cambridge free throws (from a Huskies technical) followed by Kenan Blackshear’s contested corner 3-pointer re-upped it to 12 with 7:03 to go.

The lead did not fall below double digits the remainder of the game.

Cambridge’s triple — giving Nevada the 73-58 lead with a hair above three minutes left — all but clinched Nevada’s second-straight victory.

Though the Wolf Pack (or Washington, for that matter) failed to generate any consistent first-half flow, they shot 45.3 percent from the floor and 30.8 percent (8-26) from 3-point against the Huskies, who intermixed man-to-man, a 2-3 zone and a 1-2-1-1 full-court press throughout the evening.

Cambridge finished with 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting, including 3-of-7 from beyond the arc. Will Baker tallied 10 points on 3-of-7 shooting, hauling in a season-high nine rebounds.

Warren Washington finished with 15 points and nine rebounds, tying Baker, going 3-of-5 from the floor and 9-of-11 from the free-throw line.

The Huskies shot 37.3 percent and 36.0 percent from distance.

Terrell Brown Jr., who accounted for nearly half of Washington’s scoring and assist production entering Wednesday, was its only double figure scorer.

He had 19 points on 7-of-15 shooting, knocking down his only two triples after entering with a 20.0 3-point percentage. Brown added five rebounds, four assists and one steal — all of which set or tied a team high.

Emmitt Matthews Jr. had nine points with five boards; Jamal Bey tallied eight points on 2-of-5 from deep; Cole Bajema had eight points on 3-of-8 shooting in 29 minutes off the bench.

Nevada did an outstanding job crashing the boards on Wednesday, out-rebounding the Huskies 44-25 on the glass. It marked Nevada’s first game of the season where it finished with a positive double-digit rebounding margin.

The Pack picked up their second-straight 19-point win on Wednesday, just two days after suffering one of their worst losses in recent memory to South Dakota State. Nevada exits South Dakota at 3-4 while Washington drops to a mirrored 4-3.

Baker’s triple gave Nevada the 9-5 lead, forcing Washington to burn an early timeout. Warren Washington’s steal at half-court, which followed with Sherfield’s lay-in, put the Pack ahead 13-5.

The Huskies followed with a 12-2 run — including Matthews’ 3-pointer that gave Washington the 17-15 lead with 8:31 remaining in the first half.

Nevada went scoreless from 11:02 to the 5:23 mark — five minutes and 39 seconds, a stretch concluded by Baker splitting a pair of free throws — missing five shots with seven turnovers (four offensive fouls) over that span.

Cambridge’s 3-pointer with 4:38 remaining ended the basket-less drought that lasted over six minutes. Thankfully for Nevada, the Huskies also couldn’t build on their lead, tallying just four points from 8:31 until Cambridge’s triple.

Bey’s 3-pointer tied it at 27 with under two minutes to go in the opening half. Sherfield put the Pack ahead 29-27 entering the break.

Nevada shot 30.0 percent — including an ice-cold 3-of-16 (18.8 percent) — while Washington wasn’t much better, netting 33.3 percent of its shots (4-of-11 from 3-point range) in the opening half.

Back-to-back 3s from Brown and Bey put the Huskies ahead 33-31. After Washington rewarded Nevada the 36-34 lead.

Baker, Washington, Sherfield and Cambridge accounted for all but two of Nevada’s first 46 points in the first 28 minutes; Cambridge and Washington had 12 apiece while Baker and Sherfield both had 10.

Cambridge’s lay-up followed by Sherfield’s 3-pointer gave Nevada the 51-47 lead. Daniel Foster’s corner triple widened it to 55-49 with 10:36 remaining.

Nevada began to pull away. Their 10-0 run — capped by Sherfield’s pull up trey — gave the Pack a 61-49 lead with 8:19 remaining, their first double-digit lead of the night.

It did not look back.

Cambridge’s 3-pointer with 3:02 left increased the lead to 15. A pair of Sherfield free throws extended it to 20 — the largest it would be all night.

The Pack clinched their second straight against a Huskies team that began to find to their groove. The question remains: Can Nevada find a groove of its own? Stay tuned.

Next up: After a lengthy trip on the road, Nevada returns to Lawlor Events Center to take on Pepperdine on Tuesday, Nov. 30. Tip-off will be at 7 p.m. PT.