Westminster plays hard but loses to Nevada 85-61

RENO - The Nevada men's basketball team has had a problem winning the games it should. Against St. Mary's, one of the worst teams in college basketball, the Wolf Pack needed a game-winning shot from Terrance Green with nine seconds remaining to give them a 67-65 win.

On Thursday against Westminster, an NAIA school from Utah, Nevada didn't make things as interesting. Corey Jackson scored 13 points and three other Wolf Pack players scored in double figures as Nevada posted its biggest margin of victory this season, 85-61 at the Lawlor Events Center.

All 14 Wolf Pack players played for the first time this season and 12 scored. The only ones who didn't score were walk-ons Brian Hedlund and Mike Brown. Craig Lewis, a freshman from Dallas, was the most surprising bench player, scoring 11 points against the Griffins.

In the first half, Westminster (7-5) actually took a 7-6 lead before Nevada went on a 17-0 run to go up 23-7 and put the game out of reach. The Wolf Pack players, however, weren't pleased with their effort, especially considering they were playing an average NAIA team.

"We always have trouble winning the games we are supposed to win," said James Bayless, who finished with 10 points. "We're not playing consistent right now and we didn't play well tonight, even though we won by 24 points."

Green, who had only two points in the first half, scored nine in the second, all of them coming on consecutive 3-pointers. His trey with 13:26 left in the game put Nevada up 60-36.

A few minutes later, coach Trent Johnson took the starters out and began to clear the bench. The Wolf Pack bench actually outscored Westminster 20-18 after they went into the game. Sean Paul (Elko, Nev.) nearly recorded a double-double, finishing with eight points and nine rebounds.

"Those kids do a good job of working hard in practice, so it's good for them to play," Johnson said. "But our starters had to put the team in a position for them to."

Nevada led by as much as 31 points in the second half before the Griffins' Mitch Montgomery scored 14 of his 24 points late in the second to decrease the Wolf Pack's lead. Brad Willden was the only other Westminster player in double figures, adding 16 points. The Griffins were out-rebounded 47-37.

Nevada (7-2) is now an impressive 6-0 at the Lawlor Events Center. But it's been rough for the Wolf Pack away from home this season, posting only a 1-2 record. Nevada's next four games are on the road, starting with Saturday's game at Santa Clara.

"The road hasn't been very friendly to us this season," Bayless said. "We have to play more consistent, and execute offensively and defensively before we can start winning on the road."

The Wolf Pack's next home game is Thursday, January 11 at 7:00 p.m. against Southern Methodist University.

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