RENO — Nevada’s 16th straight home win was marred by an incident at the end of the game.
Deshon Taylor launched an air ball with 2 seconds remaining in the 102-92 Nevada win, and as Nevada’s Cody Martin went up to grab the ball he caught an elbow to his eye.
After the elbow landed, a Fresno State player nearly took Martin’s arm off trying to wrest the ball away. That move by Fresno State made no sense given the fact that the game was over. There really wasn’t a need to put up a final shot given the score.
Words were exchanged, and both benches emptied. No blows were thrown, and the coaches from both teams and the game officials were able to restore order fairly quickly.
“I didn’t think the elbow was intentional,” Martin said. The Nevada junior admitted he was upset when the Fresno State player tried to wrest the ball away.
It was kind of typical if you consider the Nevada-Fresno State rivalry has turned into a good one, complete with physical play.
“In the end, it was two competitive teams,” Nevada coach Eric Musselman said. “Cody got poked in the eye pretty bad. Words were exchanged. Their coaching staff and our coaching staff got out there, and cooler heads prevailed.”
The teams did exchange handshakes after the incident.
Josh Hall made a rare start, and the move paid major dividends.
Hall , who started over Lindsey Drew, scored 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds in one of his best games in a Nevada uniform.
He went 5-for-7 from the floor, including 2-for-2 from beyond the arc, and he rattled home all seven of his free-throw attempts.
“Would say up there, top 2 or top 3,” Hall said after the victory. “Just a lot of practice, getting a lot of shots up over the weekend.”
Hall said he appreciated the faith that the coaching staff has shown in him, especially this season when he went several games without scoring a point.
There was nobody happier for Hall than Musselman.
“We’re trying to be patient with Josh,” the Nevada coach said. “He stayed in the rotation because of his practice habits.
“He had a stretch where he struggled somewhat. I had great confidence in Josh last year as a freshman. We needed him to make free throws down the stretch and he made free throws. Defensively he was our best defender tonight.”
Hall helped hold 6-7 Jaron Hopkins to just seven points.
BY THE NUMBERS
Cody Martin led the Pack in scoring for the fourth time finishing with 22 points. It was his sixth 20-point game of the season … Nevada didn’t turn the ball over the last 27-plus minutes of the game … Nevada has now had a 20-point scorer in 20 of its 23 games … Nevada is 40-4 at Lawlor in the Musselman era, including 29 wins in its last 30 home games.
Nevada takes to the road for a Saturday game (5 p.m.) at Colorado State.
Wednesday, the Rams again played without J.D. Paige (hand) and Prentiss Nixon for the second straight game in a 91-86, double overtime loss to Wyoming.
Musselman said he expects Nixon to play on Saturday.
“I feel Nixon will play,” the Nevada coach said after the game. “He was jumping around on the bench in street clothes today (in the Wyoming game).
“They have multiple guys that score the ball, and they do a great job on offensive rebounding. If we don’t rebound against Colorado State we’re not going to win.”
The Rams are 10-14 overall and 3-8 in conference.