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Nevada takes huge step backwards in dominating loss to New Mexico

Nevada’s nine-game winning streak over New Mexico was snapped.

Tylan Pope (#33) makes a dunk against the New Mexico Lobos
Nevada Athletics Twitter

Just when it appeared that Nevada was back on track after last week’s win, it took a huge step backward tonight. Going into The Pit to face New Mexico is never easy, but Nevada’s nine-game winning streak over New Mexico gave them high hopes.

The Lobos dominated the Wolf Pack, and that winning streak ended in the 89-55 loss. New Mexico never gave Nevada a shot, even to start the game. It was back to many missed shots for Nevada, and its defense had no answer for the Lobos.

Nevada dropped to 16-5 overall and 3-4 in conference play. New Mexico is back on the doorstep of first place, improving to 18-3 overall and 6-2 in conference play.

Scoring Summary

1st Half

Nevada 24 - New Mexico 38

2nd Half

Nevada 31 - New Mexico 51

Final: Nevada 55, New Mexico 89

Offense

There’s no sugarcoating Nevada’s offense in this one. It was flat, quiet, and simply had no rhythm. Nobody cracked double-digit points for the Pack, as Kenan Blackshear and Jarod Lucas both led the team with nine points each.

The first half started with a nonexistent Nevada offense. New Mexico opened up to a 10-0 run. It wasn’t until about the 15-minute mark that Nevada got on the board, coming from two free throw buckets from Blackshear.

The Wolf Pack couldn’t get anything going on the floor. Heading into halftime, Nevada only made eight field goals. The team shot 19-56 overall from the floor, with players such as Lucas only shooting 3-13.

The Pack really needs to figure out the three-point shooting. It’s too inconsistent and it’s getting Nevada into hot water early on in games. The Pack only shot 23.5 percent from the three, and out of the four they made, two of them came from Lucas.

It was a full team effort. Everyone offensively for Nevada was flat and simply had no connection. It’s not like the Pack to play this poorly, so I don’t expect this to be a trend going forward.

Defense

Just like the offense, Nevada’s defense had no answer. It seemed like there was nothing the Lobos couldn’t make, as it was just bucket after bucket.

New Mexico guard Jaelen House stole the show. He led the Lobos in points with 21, while also picking up six assists, six steals, and shot 4-8 from the three.

As a team, New Mexico shot 11-22 from the three and 34-58 from the floor. The Lobos outrebounded the Wolf Pack 27-20 and forced Nevada into 15 turnovers.

New Mexico took advantage of Nevada’s turnover mistakes, scoring 25 points off of them. It outscored Nevada in the paint 30-26, and the Lobos’ bench picked 26 of their 89 points.

Five New Mexico players scored double-digit points, four of them being from the starting five.

Nevada’s defense was one of the better departments in the Mountain West, but it simply had no way of stopping New Mexico’s offense. It felt like the Lobos could throw up anything and it would find the net, and New Mexico got far too many fast break points off of Nevada's missed shots.

What’s Next

Nevada will get to come back home to Lawlor in hopes of regaining its confidence. On paper, Nevada should be able to do just that as it’ll host the last-place San Jose State on Friday, February 2.

While the Spartans are 1-6 in conference play, a lot of those losses were close. Can’t look at the record, however, with any conference game isn’t going to be easy. The same could’ve been said about Nevada’s matchup against Wyoming, in which the Pack lost.

Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. PST, and hopefully, a cheerful Lawlor Events Center can snap Nevada back into rhythm.