Coming into its matchup against San Jose State, Nevada had lost four out of its last five games. Road games have been especially tough on the Wolf Pack, so playing in front of a rowdy crowd at Lawlor helped big time in their 30-point win over the Spartans.
Nevada got back to fundamentals, brought its identity back, and took another home victory in what could’ve been considered a must-win for Nevada. Dominant offensive performances with an all-team effort have given the now 17-5 Wolf Pack its swagger back.
San Jose State 24 - Nevada 49
San Jose State 36 - Nevada 41
Final: San Jose State 60, Nevada 90
We’ve seen a lot of the Wolf Pack’s victories come from a Jarod Lucas or Kenan Blackshear masterclass. While both players had great games, the offensive performance was powered by the whole team.
Five Nevada players scored double-digit points, three of them being from the starting five. Forward Nick Davidson had himself an absolute gem, leading the team with 22 points and 11 rebounds. At one point, Davidson was perfect from the floor, free throw line, and the three-point shot. He finished 8-12 from the floor and 3-5 from both the free-throw line and the three-point line.
Lucas wasn’t far behind, picking up 20 points with four rebounds, three assists, and shot 3-5 from the three. Blackshear (10 points) Tyler Rolison (12 points) and Tylan Pope (10 points) finished out the five total players to collect double-digit points for the Pack.
At the beginning of the season, Nevada’s success was from the free throw shot. It took a dip as the season progressed, but Nevada regained its aggressive in the paint. As a team, Nevada went to the free throw line 17 times and shot 21-33. Compared to the Spartans 4-9, it’s no question how much Nevada dominated. For most of the first half, Nevada’s points were purely coming from the free-throw line.
Nevada also got back to winning the turnover battle, only collecting five compared to San Jose State’s 10. A dominant 25-point lead going into the half set the tone for how this game was going to go, and Nevada looked GOOD doing it in their new silver threads.
A 30-point win gives Nevada’s defense a nice look. The Spartans shot 40 percent from the floor and only 28.6 percent from three. San Jose State still had four players pick up double-digit points, but Nevada did well at keeping it spread out and filling those gaps with points of their own.
Nevada took advantage of the 10 turnovers it forced against San Jose State. The Pack picked up 19 points off turnovers, compared to the Spartans only picked up 6 points on five turnovers.
The Wolf Pack have been struggling with rebounds, and that usually is followed by a loss. Nevada was able to outrebound San Jose State 45-31, including 27 defensive rebounds. Nevada was also able to pick up seven steals against the Spartans alongside two blocks.
It’s pretty easy to keep it short in terms of Nevada’s defensive performance when they play dominantly. This is the level Nevada has to play its higher Quad opponents, and the home crowd is definitely helping.
While this dominant win was nice, the next three games are going to determine what kind of team Nevada is.
Up next is No. 17 ranked Utah State, which will be a road game for the Pack. After that? Back home to face San Diego State, which turned into one of the biggest rivalry matchups last season. After that? No. 19 ranked New Mexico at home, who Nevada took a brutal beating two weeks ago.
Take it one week at a time, but it isn’t getting any easier. The Aggies will be the biggest matchup Nevada has faced this year, and it being a road game makes the nerves even higher. While the Pack struggling on the road was the theme last season, you can’t keep the same old habits.
Tip-off is set for Tuesday, Feb. 6 at 6 p.m. PST in Logan, Utah.