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Nevada craters late, falls 77-66 to Colorado State

The Rams outscored Nevada 14-3 over the final 6:03, feeding an unfortunate, yet reoccurring narrative of Nevada’s inability to close (tight) games.

Syndication: Reno Gazette Journal Andy Barron/RGJ / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Colorado State Rams men’s basketball team continued their historic stretch on Tuesday night, pulling away late to earn the 77-66 victory over the Nevada Wolf Pack at Moby Arena on Tuesday night.

The Rams improve to 16-1 — their best 17-game start in program history — and 6-1 in Mountain West play. Dating back to last season, they have now won 13 straight home games, outscoring opponents by 17.5 points per game in such games over that span.

The Wolf Pack, who drop 9-8 and an even 3-3 in conference play, controlled most of the first half — but the two Mountain West foes traded blows like a heavyweight title fight throughout the first 14 minutes of the second half. Both combined for 82 second-half points on 58 percent and canning eight combined 3s (four apiece).

But in the hard-fought duel that saw 11 lead changes and nine ties, Colorado State eventually found itself in the driver’s seat and didn’t look back.

It pieced together a 14-3 run in the final 6:03, knocking down four of its six shot attempts and 8-of 11 from the free-throw line; the lead grew to as big as 12 with over a minute left.

Conversely, the Wolf Pack— who have struggled mightily to close games this season — went scoreless for over five minutes, terminated by Desmond Cambridge’s game-high fifth 3-pointer with 52 seconds left (when it was already down 12), but it wasn’t enough; Nevada missed six of their seven shots (with three turnovers) across the final 6:03 after sinking 23 of their first 44 (52.3 percent) beforehand.

In total, Nevada shot 47.1 percent, though its 3-point struggles plagued it once again, hitting just 8-of-28 (28.6 percent) from distance.

Cambridge got back to double-digit points (and attempts!), after three straight contests with nine points or fewer. He finished with a game-high 23 points on 9-of-19 shooting, including 5-of-13 from distance, in addition to his five rebounds, two assists, a team-high three steals and a block.

Grant Sherfield had 16 points on 6-of-15 shooting with two rebounds, three assists and a steal. Will Baker was the team’s only other double-digit scorer, adding 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting, grabbing a game-high nine boards.

He and K.J. Hymes saw a bulk of the minutes at the 5 tonight with Warren Washington’s right-hand injury, which limited him to just six minutes of action.

Colorado State shot 49.1 percent with a 34.8 3-point percentage (8-23).

David Roddy stuffed the stat sheet with team-highs in scoring, rebounds, assists and steals, totaling 18 points, eight boards, six assists and two steals.

Chandler Jacobs, starting in-place of an injured Adam Thistlewood for the second consecutive game, had 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting and five rebounds. Isaiah Stevens had 16 points with one assist and five boards in the winning effort.

Colorado State’s first points came on a 9-0 run after the Wolf Pack notched the game’s first six points (3-pointers from Baker and Cambridge).

Nevada countered with an 11-2 run — capped by Kenan Blackshear’s layup — giving it the 17-11 lead with 11:19 remaining in the opening half, prompting a Ram timeout.

Cambridge’s make from distance gave Nevada the 30-22 lead with under four minutes to go in the first half. The Wolf Pack marched into halftime with the 34-27 lead. Nevada shot 46.2 percent with a 25.0 3-point percentage (4-16); Colorado State shot 33.3 percent and 28.6 percent (4-14) from deep.

Colorado State began 5-for-6 to start the second half, tying the game at 39. Roddy’s three-point play conversion gave the Rams a slim 50-48 advantage with 12:18 left.

Roddy’s steal followed by Stevens’ layup gave Colorado State the 69-63 lead with 4:12 remaining. Nevada’s inability to fashion productive offensive possessions combined with failing to get crucial stops led to its slow, yet steady demise again on Tuesday. The Rams’ final six points ultimately came from the charity stripe in the 11-point victory, keeping their unbeaten 2021-22 home record alive.

Next up: The Wolf Pack return home to play host to Utah State on Saturday at 7 p.m. PST on CBS Sports Network.