The three-game stretch of Utah State, San Diego State, and New Mexico felt like it would make or break Nevada’s season. It started that stretch in a monster way, taking down No. 22 ranked Utah State.
Even better for Nevada, it defeated a ranked Utah State on the road. I’ve mentioned Nevada’s struggles on the road and how much of a weak link it was, so pulling out a 77-63 win in Utah was huge. It’s Nevada’s first win on the road against Utah since 2018.
Nevada 36 - Utah State 27
Nevada 41 - Utah State 36
Final: Nevada 77, Utah State 63
Nevada’s offensive identity has been its strongest at home. Drawing fouls and attacking the paint has gotten Nevada its wins, which was displayed in this huge home win.
Nick Davidson has been making his name known on the court recently. He led the team with 25 points tonight, also a career-high for Davidson. He also picked up 10 rebounds, two steals, and an assist. Davidson also shot 10-14 from the floor.
It took some time for Kenan Blackshear to heat up, but he finished the night right behind Davidson in points. He picked up 18 points on 7-17 from the floor and a perfect 4-4 from the free throw line. He also collected three rebounds and four assists in the game.
Nevada’s shooting overall was great in this one, shooting 52.9 percent from the field. Both teams had foul issues in this one, but Nevada forced 20 personal fouls on the Aggies. That led to a 19-25 shooting performance from the free throw line for Nevada.
The Wolf Pack only shot 4-10 from three, but just like at the beginning of the season, Nevada showed it didn’t need the deep shot to win.
While Utah State scored early and kept it close for most of the game, Nevada’s defense locked down its shooting. The Aggies only shot 39.3 percent from the field. It was even worse for the Aggies from the three, shooting 5-21.
Utah State had three players with double-digit points, but most of those came from free-throw shooting. The Aggies forced 18 personal fouls on Nevada, leading to an 82.4 percent shooting from the free-throw line.
Nevada forced Utah State to give up 12 turnovers, which turned into 13 points for the Pack. Nevada also barely won the rebound game, outrebounding Utah State 32-30. Even with a two-rebound difference, Nevada wins when it controls the rebound game.
Alongside the great shooting, Nevada’s defense was able to keep a lead for the majority of the game. The Wolf Pack had the lead for 26:12 minutes, resulting in owning the lead for 65.5 percent of the game.
Although beating the No. 22 ranked team was huge, it won’t get any easier. Nevada will now host San Diego State at Lawlor on Friday, Feb. 9.
The Wolf Pack already lost to the Aztecs earlier this season, losing 71-59 in San Diego. Lawlor is expected to be sold out or close to it, and Nevada’s 11-1 record at home has shown that a loud Lawlor can make the difference.
Tip-off is set for 5 p.m. PST.