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Is Nick Davidson Nevada’s secret weapon for a late season run?

The 6-foot-8 big is averaging 23.5 points and 10.5 rebounds over his last two games.

Nevada v New Mexico Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images

The Nevada Wolf Pack has won three of their last four games after suffering their first three-game skid of the season. Those three victories came at home to Colorado State, San Jose State and, most recently went on the road to knock off No. 22 Utah State—one of their biggest victories of the season that improved them to 5-4 in MW play.

The biggest takeaway from their last two games has been the emergence of sophomore big Nick Davidson, who’s playing the best basketball of his career.

The sophomore is averaging 11.6 points and 7.0 rebounds in 23 starts this season, shooting 54.9 percent from the floor and 30.4 percent from 3-point range.

Though Davidson’s tallied his first two 20-point, 10-rebound double-doubles over the last two games, dominating San Jose State’s frontcourt plus Utah State big Great Osobor. He tallied 23.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, two assists and one steal on a combined 18-of-26 shooting, including 12-of-16 from 3-point range.

“My confidence has risen, obviously,” he said after Wednesday’s game. “And my teammates are finding me in open positions. And you know, haven’t been shooting the ball well prior to this, and they trusted me to keep shooting, keep shooting, and it’s finally falling.”

“Nick Davidson was terrific,” head coach Steve Alford added. “And he’s been trending that way. He’s been having a really good year, but he’s playing at a really high level right now.”

Davidson entered the rotation last season in lieu of K.J. Hymes’ back injury, appearing in all 30 games behind former Wolf Pack big Will Baker—who transferred to LSU over the offseason—making a positive impact. He was more efficient from 3-point range, but has improved as a finisher, rebounder and as a pure defender against bigs.

This year, he’s been 29.8 points per 100 possessions better with Davidson on the floor—including 24.1 points offensively—grading in the 99th percentile, per CBB Analytics (subscription required). The team’s effective field goal percentage also raises 11.1 percent (99th percentile) while its turnover percentage has improved by 2.4 percent (83 percentile).

Nevada will obviously need its star-studded backcourt in Jarod Lucas and Kenan Blackshear to play at their highest level if they want to play in the big dance in March. But there’s a world where Davidson could be the “secret” sauce to Nevada’s success as the season progresses, should he keep this play up. He’s been Nevada’s best big, by far, and is offers positional versatility in the frontcourt, even though his shot hasn’t always fallen.