RENO — It was a big night for the Nevada offense.
With six players scoring in double figures against a Division I team for the first time since 2003, Nevada turned the ball over just five times and shot 59 percent from the floor en route to a 102-92 win over Fresno State before a crowd of 8,521 at Lawlor Events Center on Wednesday.
Nevada improved to 19-4 overall and 8-1 in conference play. It extended its home winning streak against Mountain West opponents to 10 and 16 straight overall dating back to last season. The win also gave Nevada a season sweep, avenging its two losses to Fresno State from last year.
“I’m really happy,” said Josh Hall, who made a rare start and scored 19 points and led the team in rebounding with seven. “It’s good for us to get (a win) especially at home. We got key rebounds that led to transition points.
“On court really we don’t like each other at all; the arrogance that they have. We are both competitive teams. I’m just glad we got the win. I’m sure we will see them in the tournament.”
The Pack eclipsed the 100-point mark for the second straight game. The last time Nevada did that was the 1988-89 season. Nevada lost to Loyola 130-125 on Dec. 30, 1988, and then knocked off Idaho State 108-71.
It was also the first time this year that Nevada had six players in double figures. Cody Martin had 22, Hall 19, Caleb Martin 18, Kendall Stephens and Jordan Caroline 16, and Lindsey Drew 11.
“Fresno State is a really good team that can score the ball,” Nevada coach Eric Musselman said. “They have a lot of offensive weapons. The first half was kind of a shootout. The second half we increased the tempo a little more. Scoring 59 points in a college half is a lot of points.
“Five turnovers against a high steal team. We didn’t have one in the second half. Coming into the game the big key was (not having) turnovers. Five turnovers and 102 points that doesn’t happen very often.”
And, Musselman said there are things that need to be improved on, including ball distribution and spacing.
Tempo, according to Musselman and his players, was critical. Musselman said the team had been walking the ball upcourt too much.
“Pace is everything,” said Caleb Martin. “We have so many athletic guys, we have to take advantage of that. We just have to get up the floor and put pressure on their defense.”
“The last two games have been better,” Musselman said. “We have athletes who can finish on the break. There is no reason to walk the ball up the court. I’m pleased with the pace.”
The game, which featured 11 ties and eight lead changes, started to turn in Nevada’s favor midway through the second half.
With the score tied at 68, Nevada went on a 13-5 run to grab an 81-73 advantage with 6:56 left .
Caleb Martin started the surge with a 3-pointer. The 6-7 junior scored 16 of his 18 in the second half.
“Pretty passive first half,” Caleb Martin said. “The first half JC (Jordan Caroline) was scoring and other guys were being aggressive. I never want to be a player who forces shots. I looked for my shot a little more in the second half.”
Two free throws by Cody Martin stretched the lead to 73-68, but Deshon Taylor (30 points) made two free throws, getting the deficit back down to three. Drew became a scoring machine, tallying the next eight Nevada points to make it 81-73.
After the Bulldogs closed to 81-75, the Pack scored eight of the next 10 for an 89-77 lead with 2:35 left. Hall had four points in that stretch. The Bulldogs never got closer than eight the rest of the way.
The first half was much the same. Fresno State led 45-43, as a Stephens putback didn’t beat the buzzer according to the officials.
Both teams were dialed in offensively. Nevada shot 55 percent overall, including 46 percent from the 3-point line, while Fresno State shot 58 percent overall and 54.5 from beyond the arc.