A dominant backcourt performance from the No. 5-seeded Nevada Wolf Pack fueled its 89-82 upset over No. 4 Boise State in the quarterfinals of the Mountain West Tournament Thursday.
The dynamic duo of Wolf Pack guards Desmond Cambridge and Grant Sherfield accounted for 64 percent of the team’s scoring, combining to shoot 57.6 percent from the floor and 63.6 percent from 3-point range.
Cambridge, who was named to the All-Mountain West third team earlier this week, had a dominant two-way performance. He recorded a season-high 31 points — two shy of tying his career high — on 11-of-19 shooting and 4-of-8 from deep, adding two blocks and two steals.
Sherfield, who earned All-Mountain West first team honors and was named the conference’s Newcomer of the Year, had 26 points on 8-of-14 shooting and a perfect 3-of-3 from deep.
Against Boise State this season, Sherfield averaged 25.0 points, 8.3 assists on 54.2 percent shooting (61.5 percent from deep).
Thursday marks Nevada’s third victory over the Broncos in its last six games. The Wolf Pack advance to 16-9 on the season. Boise State, who entered on the brink of an NCAA Tournament berth, drops to 18-8 with its tournament hopes potentially shattered.
Thursday marks the first Quad 1 victory (in five tries) for the Wolf Pack this season. They improve to 5-5 in Quad 1 or 2 games.
Nevada did not trail the entire game. Each time Boise State made a slight dent in its lead, the Wolf Pack responded. The closest it got in the final ten minutes was five points.
Nevada shot 50.8 percent from the floor and 50.0 percent from 3-point range.
In addition to Cambridge and Sherfield, Warren Washington had one of his best performances of the season. The 7-footer recorded his third double-double of the season, tallying 18 points with 11 rebounds.
Boise State shot 51 percent shooting — 35.7 percent in the second half — and 38.9 percent from deep.
Devonaire Doutrive posted his second career double-double and his first of the season, tallying team highs in points (17) and rebounds (10). First team All-Mountain West honoree Derrick Alston Jr. tallied 16 points on 6-of-13 shooting and 2-of-4 from 3-point range, adding a team-high four assists.
Emmanuel Akot had 15 points on 4-of-9 shooting while RayJ Dennis had 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting.
The Wolf Pack dominated on the offensive glass, tallying 11 offensive rebounds — two shy of its season high. It entered averaging just 6.4 offensive rebounds per contest entering Thursday. On the afternoon, Nevada finished a plus-seven on the glass (37-30).
Both teams had a key piece missing: Boise State was without Abu Kigab, who was given All-Mountain West second team honors by the media and third team by the media this week. Nevada was without Zane Meeks (knee tendinitis), who started 18 of the 22 games he appeared in this year.
hree consecutive 3-pointers from Cambridge awarded Nevada the early 15-4 advantage with 13:48 remaining. He had 13 of Nevada’s first 17 points, outsourcing the Broncos by himself in the first eight minutes.
Sherfield’s three-point play conversion put the Pack ahead 25-15 with 10:05 remaining in the first half. Milling’s 3-pointer, followed by back-to-back baskets from Washington layup widened it to 38-28.
Boise State’s Mladen Armus cut it to 38-32, but Coleman’s 3-pointer gave Nevada the nine-point lead with 5:12 left in the opening half. Back-to-back 3-pointers from Sherfield re-gave the Wolf Pack the double-digit lead, 48-37. They netted nine of their first 12 attempts from outside.
After a torrid shooting performance by both teams in the opening half, Nevada entered halftime with a 51-45 lead. It shot 56.3 percent in the half and 69.2 percent from beyond the arc. Boise State shot a blistering 69.6 percent — 76.5 percent from inside-the-arc — and 3-of-6 from deep.
Sherfield had 17 first-half points; Cambridge had 16 while Washington had 10. Eight Broncos tallied points in the half as well.
Doutrive’s make from outside cut it to 51-50 out of the break. Washington’s reverse finish, followed by Sherfield’s layup widened back up to 59-52. Boise State clanked seven of its first nine shots to begin the second half.
Doutrive trimmed the deficit to six with 9:47 remaining. Cambridge’s and-1 conversion extended it to 71-63. Sherfield’s uncontested layup made it 75-66 with 3:15 to go.
The Broncos battled until the end, but weren’t able to take advantage of missed opportunities as the game took its course.
Nevada will square off with No. 1 San Diego State Friday in the semifinals at 6:30 p.m. PST on CBS Sports Network. Including their 69-66 win over No. 8 Wyoming Thursday, the Aztecs are current winners of 12 straight.
Warren Washington slams it down for the 10-pt lead. pic.twitter.com/G3DjLJktiM— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) March 12, 2021