Uttering the words of Jon Rothstein: “THIS IS MARCH!”
In a chaotic showdown — between two top-five teams in the Mountain West — which featured the two trading blows plus a lot of intermixed whistles, Nevada star guard Grant Sherfield knocked down an absurd step-back game-winning 3-pointer to knock off the Colorado State Rams 85-82 Friday evening in Reno, Nev.
The contest was tied at 82 with under a minute remaining. In an attempt to take the lead, Colorado State’s David Roddy got stripped by Warren Washington.
Sherfield corralled the ball and dribbled it up the floor, knocking down a step-back 3-pointer with under a second remaining to award the Pack the 85-82 lead.
Grant Sherfield just reiterated why Nevada could do damage next week in Las Vegas. A MASSIVE 3 late as Nevada beats Colorado State in Reno. An awesome college basketball game.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) March 6, 2021
Colorado State’s Isaiah Stevens nearly hit a ridiculous game-tying conversion on his own, but stepped out-of-bounds prior to releasing the game-tying make — giving Nevada the final possession and the wild victory.
It is March and there is madness in the air.— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) March 6, 2021
Brutal finish for Colorado State as it was THIS close to tying it at the buzzer. @NevadaHoops takes this one thanks to Sherfield’s three with one second left. pic.twitter.com/0bPTIO21dn
Friday’s contest featured the two teams that boasted the best free-throw percentages in the Mountain West: CSU at 78.4 percent and Nevada at 75.4 percent.
The 53 combined fouls illustrated a visual representation of “Last Man Standing”; two combined players fouled out, three had four fouls and six more had three.
With the overabundance of whistles blown, both teams tallied a considerable amount of their points from the charity stripe — the Rams went 32-for-34 (94.1 percent) and Nevada went 28-for-37 (75.7 percent).
Nevada shot 44.2 percent from the floor and 40.4 percent from deep.
Desmond Cambridge tallied a team-high 20 points on 4-of-14 shooting and 9-of-9 from the free-throw line. After going scoreless in the first 17:47, Sherfield had 18 points on 6-of-17 shooting with a team-high six assists.
Kane Milling tallied a career-high 17 points and tied a career-mark with four made 3-pointers, shooting 5-of-7 in total. Tre Coleman tallied double figure scoring for the third consecutive game, adding 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting.
Colorado State shot 40.4 percent from the floor and 30.8 percent from beyond the arc.
The trio of Roddy — a Mountain West Player of the Year candidate — along with Stevens and Kendle Moore led the charge.
Roddy and Stevens finished with 20 points apiece. Roddy shot 4-of-10 from the floor and a perfect 11-for-11 from the free-throw line. He also finished with a team-high 10 rebounds and recorded his 10th double-double of his sophomore campaign. Stevens shot 7-of-18, while Moore finished with 15 points and went 3-for-7 on the evening.
After tallying a career-high 27 points Wednesday, forward Adam Thistlewood had zero points and fouled out with 8:34 left.
Nevada finished the regular season 15-9 and 10-7 in Mountain West play, also improving to 4-5 in Quad 1 or 2 games and 10-2 at home.
Friday’s loss snapped Colorado State’s five-game winning streak, ending its regular season at 17-5 and 14-4 in Mountain West play.
Nevada had a starting lineup change, starting K.J. Hymes over true freshman Daniel Foster at the four-spot.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from Moore, followed by a second-chance layup from Dischon Thomas gave Colorado State the 16-5 advantage with 13:26 to go in the first half. Nevada missed its first six shots and 12 of its first 15.
Two consecutive makes from outside by Coleman and Milling cut the deficit to six with 7:04 remaining in the half, prompting a Ram timeout. Stevens’ 3-pointer extended it to 33-22.
Cambridge, Milling and Coleman accounted for 25 of the Pack’s first 29 points. The trio of Moore, Stevens and Roddy started just as dominant — totaling 31 of the Rams’ first 37 points.
Nevada’s 9-0 run — including Sherfield’s first two buckets of the contest — cut it to 37-33 with just over two minutes remaining.
Colorado State entered halftime with a 44-37 advantage. It shot 45.8 percent from the floor and 42.9 percent from beyond the arc. It made all 16 free throws (yes, you read that number correctly) after attempting just 24 field goals.
After struggling to open the game, Nevada shot 39.8 percent for the half 31.3 percent from 3-point range — hitting eight of its final 13 shots. It also saw the charity stripe often in the half, going 10-of-13.
Cambridge’s four-point play cut it to 46-43. In terms of fouls called, it didn’t slow down in the final half.
The Rams entered the bonus with 15:21 to go, while Nevada entered with 13:59.
Washington’s posterizing putback finish, followed by a layup from Sherfield gave Nevada its first lead of the game at 55-54. After Colorado State reclaimed the lead, Milling tied it at 67 with eight minutes remaining.
Roddy’s three-point play conversion awarded the Rams with the 78-77 lead with 4:55 remaining.
Cambridge netted his third 3-pointer of the game to re-give Nevada the 82-80 lead, its final field goal make until Sherfield’s make with under one second left. The Rams missed five of its final six shots and did record a field goal make in the final 4:02.
Nevada, clinching the No. 5 seed and a first round bye, will face the No. 4-seed in next week’s Mountain West Tournament on March 11 at 2:30 p.m. PST.
Colorado State is tied with Utah State for the No. 2 seed in the conference. It has no more regular season games left, while the Aggies have one more Sunday against Fresno State.
It gets weird in Reno.— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP) March 6, 2021