Just days after securing unquestionably their biggest win of the season, the Nevada Wolf Pack return home for a back-to-back home-road bout against the San Jose State Spartans.
The first of their two meetings this week will be on Tuesday in Lawlor Events Center in Reno, Nev., with the final being on Thursday in San Jose.
The Wolf Pack topped the Aggies by 13 — 85-72 — on Friday night, snapping a six-game losing streak and a four-game losing streak in Logan, Utah. On the other hand, San Jose State is winless in 12 conference contests by an average of 18.7 points, including a 74-52 loss to Wyoming Saturday.
Nevada’s won nine of their last 10 meetings and 34 of their last 37 against San Jose State, dating back to the start of the 2002-03 season. Can they build a winning streak after its six-game losing streak? Let’s dive into the matchup and find out!
Matchup: Nevada (10-13, 4-8) vs. San Jose State (7-17, 0-12)
When: Tuesday, Feb. 15 at 8:00 p.m. PT
Where: Lawlor Events Center in Reno, Nev.
TV/Online: Fox Sports 1 || foxsports.com
Spread: Nevada -15
Money line: Nevada -1450, SJSU +850
Last Meeting: Nevada won 95-77
Matchup History: Nevada leads 61-49
The Spartans only feature one double figure scorer in Omari Moore, who’s in his third year as a full-time starter with the program.
The junior 6-foot-6 guard’s tallying 12.9 points per game on 47.3 percent shooting — including 45.1 percent shooting from distance (2.2 attempts) — also leading the team in assists (4.3 apg) and rebounds (5.3 rpg) amongst active Spartan players.
Trey Anderson, who’s second in scoring at 9.2 points per contest, has recorded double figure scoring totals in five of his last eight games, though he tallied donuts in the other three outings. He’s knocking down 43.6 percent of his attempts over that span and 40.9 percent of his triples, slightly down from his 47.2 field goal percentage and 45.2 3-point percentage on the season.
Trey Smith (8.8 ppg) and MJ Amey (8.6 ppg) is SJSU’s third and fourth scorers, respectively. Amey has particularly burst out of late, tallying double digits in four of his last five games, including scoring totals of 24, 23 and 19 over his last three contests — the latter two as starts.
After missing three straight games with a foot infection, Nevada guard Grant Sherfield has seemingly re-kindled his midseason form. Or at least it looked as if he did Friday, his second game back, after a meager performance against Colorado State on Feb. 8.
Sherfield dazzled with 24 points on 5-of-14 shooting, including 12-of-14 from the charity stripe, adding three rebounds, five assists and one steal.
On the season, the 6-foot-2 guard’s tallying 18.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game, becoming one of two players in the Mountain West — and the country; the only other is Wyoming’s Hunter Maldonado (19.6 ppg, 6.3 apg) — to average at least 18 points and six assists. He’s shooting 42.0 percent with a 36.0 3-point percentage and 87.1 free-throw percentage in 2021-22.
Desmond Cambridge, Sherfield’s backcourt running mate, has been on a torrid two-game stretch: He posted a career-high 26 points against the Rams before notching a team-high 27 points versus Utah State. Over that two-game span — take it as you would — Cambridge shot 74.2 percent and canned 13 of his 18 triples (72.2 percent) after hitting a bump in the road mid-way through Mountain West play.
He is posting averages of 17.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.3 blocks per contest. His blocks and steals are team highs while his scoring and rebounding place second and third, respectively.
Nevada might be without starting center and a top-4 player on its team in Warren Washington for a seventh straight game due to a hand injury. Will Baker’s had his ebbs and flows as the team’s lone starting big man, as have K.J. Hymes — who’s dealt with injuries of his own for a majority of the season — and Deandre Henry off the bench. The Pack still have the size to matchup with the Spartans — who are one of the bigger teams in the Mountain West but have massively struggled at defending inside the arc (or outside the arc, too, for that matter). The Spartans have lost in nine of their 10 road games and I don’t foresee that changing Tuesday. I expect more big outings for both Sherfield and Cambridge with the potential to see some extended run from deep in Nevada’s bench if this hits blowout territory. Nevada 77, San Jose State 62 (Season record: 16-7)