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Late comeback attempt falls short as Nevada falls to San Diego State 71-59

It was another ugly first half by Nevada.

Tre Coleman #4 shoots a three against San Diego State
Nevada Athletics via Twitter

Nevada desperately needed a rebound win after losing to Boise State, but unfortunately, it’s on its first losing streak of the season. San Diego State dominated Nevada throughout the first half, and despite a second-half surge, the Wolf Pack couldn’t recover and suffered the 71-59 loss.

Just like the Boise State game, rebounds and missed shots killed Nevada. Aztec star Lamont Butler went out with a hand injury in the second half that sparked Nevada’s offense, but it wasn’t enough.

The officiating was also VERY questionable. I’m not making excuses and saying that’s why Nevada lost, but the Mountain West is too good of a conference now to have such bad officiating crews. It isn't just Nevada (go back to the UNLV/Utah State game) and it’s pretty sad to see.

Scoring Summary

1st Half

Nevada 24 - San Diego State 38

2nd Half

Nevada 35 - San Diego State 33

Offense

Nevada simply had no answer offensively in the first half. It shot 37.5 percent from the floor in the first half and improved to 45.1 percent overall at the end of the game.

The three-point shooting was flat-out non-existent until about the 18-minute mark of the second half. Nevada shot 0-10 in the first half from beyond the arc, and Tre Coleman was the one to break the goose egg in the second half.

Coleman had himself a great game and was one of the only players feeling it offensively for the Wolf Pack. He collected 16 points, four rebounds, and shot 4-7 from the three.

Kenan Blackshear struggled in the first half but was able to finish with a nice stat line. He scored 14 points, the second most on the team. He also led the team with five rebounds and seven assists.

The free throw game went downhill in the second half, and Nevada finished the night shooting 7-17 from the line.

Nevada also got into foul trouble pretty quickly (officiating didn’t help in that department.) The Wolf Pack collected 25 personal fouls, while the Aztecs only produced 17.

It’s been a rough few games for guard Jarod Lucas, who only collected nine points and shot 1-6 from the three. The duo of Lucas and Blackshear have been a big reason why Nevada has 15 wins, so it’s no coincidence their struggles have led to some tough losses.

Defense

Nevada’s defense had no answer for Jaedon LeDee, who led the Aztecs in points with 22. He didn’t shoot a single three and shot 7-9 from the floor. San Diego State scored 30 points inside the paint, and thanks to the fouling from Nevada, it shot 22-34 from the free-throw line.

Rebounding was once again a major issue for Nevada. Luck shifted its way in the second half, but the Pack was still heavily outrebounded. The Aztecs outrebounded the Pack 44-25, and Nevada’s inability to collect offensive boards after a plethora of missed shots hurt big time.

Just like the Boise State game again, turnovers seem to be an Achilles heel for Nevada. It was the second straight game it had double-digit turnovers, collecting 14 in this one. Ball control wasn’t very strong, and the Aztecs were able to score 15 fast break points from quick turnovers.

Nevada did do a great job at limiting the three-point shot for San Diego State. The Aztecs only shot 23.8 percent from the three, which was clearly worse than Nevada’s rough shooting. What the Aztecs lacked in the deep shot they made up for in the other departments, so it didn’t matter too much.

What’s Next

Nevada will take its 15-3 record on the road once again to face Wyoming. The Cowboys are coming off a close 68-67 win over Fresno State last week and are now 2-2 in conference play.

Wyoming is towards the bottom of the Mountain West, Nevada has to face Colorado State after its matchup with the Cowboys. It’s not crazy to say this matchup with Wyoming is a must-win, especially when it means Nevada could fall under .500 in conference play with another loss.

Tip-off is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. PST on Saturday, January 20.