Nevada Basketball: Wolf Pack Take Down New Mexico, 79-70
The Nevada Wolf Pack got a key Mountain West win against the Lobos.
A big home win.
Nevada started conference play on a high note, beating New Mexico in Lawlor Events Center, 79-70.
The Nevada Wolf Pack was able to take care of business, as they hosted the New Mexico Lobos Saturday night. Nevada now sits at 7-5 (1-0) while the Lobos drop to .500, sitting at 7-7 (0-1). The contest Saturday was a relatively low-scoring affair, in which there was a combined 32 turnovers between the two squads. While both teams struggled to score, the Wolf Pack were able to pull away late in the game to seal the win.
Both teams started this contest with sloppy play. New Mexico was finally able to string some baskets together and lead the game 22-13 with 10 minutes left in the first half. Both teams were able to find some scoring in a sea of turnovers, making it just 29-26 Lobos at the under-four media timeout in the first half. Alen Huseinovic gave the Wolf Pack a valuable five points at the end of the first half to cut the lead to just two, 33-31 Lobos. Jaelen House was the only Lobo doing the scoring late in the first half, scoring eight of their final 10 points going into the locker room. The Lobos were able to see the slight 36-35 point lead going into half-time.
The second half started slow but picked up when the Wolf Pack’s Kenan Blackshear was able to convert a three-point play putting Nevada up 40-39. The Wolf Pack never really looked back. That Blackshear three-point play also spurred an 11-4 point run for Nevada, which put the Wolf Pack up 50-43 with 12 minutes left in the game. It would be yet another run by the Wolf Pack, this time a 17-2 point run, which sealed the contest. The Wolf Pack led 63-48 with just seven minutes left in the game. In the end, it was Nevada who was able to fend off the Lobo’s late push, winning the contest 79-70.
The Wolf Pack were able to find productivity all over the court Saturday night. Nevada saw double-doubles from three different players, not counting Desmond Cambridge who was the Wolf Pack’s leading scorer with 18 points and five rebounds. The pair of seven-footers, Will Baker and Warren Washington, both finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Grant Sherfield, the Wolf Pack’s most consistent player, struggled to score the ball at a dominant rate, but still made his mark on this game. Sherfield finished the contest with 10 points, 10 assists, and six rebounds. Tre Coleman is continuing to develop into a solid sixth-man option for the Wolf Pack, playing valuable defense while tieing a career-high 13 points, as well as four rebounds in 33 minutes of play.
New Mexico was able to lean on their two best players once again with Jaelen House and Jamal Mashburn Jr. leading the way for the Lobos. House looked like a man on a mission Saturday night, finishing with 18 points and six assists in 33 minutes of play. The six-foot junior was also able to put the Wolf Pack in foul trouble, going to the charity stripe 10 times and making nine of his free-throw shots. This of course was the Lobo’s second game without 6-10 big man, Gethro Muscadin, who left the program after their December 19th contest against SMU. 6’6 senior Saquan Singelton, who averaged just five points per game coming into this contest, finished with 14 points on an efficient 6-7 from the field.
Nevada’s big man Will Baker takes the title of Most Valuable Player in this game. Baker was able to give the Wolf Pack valuable productivity in a contest where the usual stars struggled. In the past, Nevada has struggled to find scoring outside of their two talented guards, Sherfield and Cambridge Jr. In a game where Sherfield scored only 10 points, Baker was able to limit his turnovers and proved to be dominant down low.
For the Lobos, New Mexico (7-7, 0-1) hosts Utah State (9-5, 0-1) in The Pit on Saturday. For Nevada (7-5, 1-0), the Wolf Pack stays at home and hosts the Wyoming Cowboys (11-2, 0-0) on Tuesday.