Grades: Pack gets its revenge against overmatched Wyoming

Nevada guard Jarod Lucas dribbles around Wyoming’s Brendan Wenzel (1) and Akuel Kot during a 76-58 win at Lawlor Events Center on Tuesday. Lucas finished with 19 points and eclipsed the 2,000-point scoring mark for his college career.

Nevada guard Jarod Lucas dribbles around Wyoming’s Brendan Wenzel (1) and Akuel Kot during a 76-58 win at Lawlor Events Center on Tuesday. Lucas finished with 19 points and eclipsed the 2,000-point scoring mark for his college career.
Photo by Steve Ranson.

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Grading the Nevada Wolf Pack’s 76-58 men’s basketball victory over the Wyoming Cowboys at Lawlor Events Center on Tuesday:




Lucas had a productive night, scoring 19 points on four 3-pointers and seven free throws. But the Pack didn’t really need any of it to bury the Cowboys.

Lucas didn’t score until the Pack was already up by 10 12-plus minutes into the game and didn’t hit a field goal until it was already up by 16. Lucas, who missed 10-of-14 shots (despite going 4-of-9 on threes) was the only Pack player who took more than two shots and didn’t have a good shooting night. The rest of the team combined to shoot 22-of-40 (59 percent).

Lucas missed his first three shots and went to the bench for four-plus minutes midway through the first half. He finally scored with 7:36 to go in the half, going 3-of-4 from the line because of two technicals and a foul on Wyoming for a 27-14 Pack lead.

Lucas took seven 3-pointers over a stretch of about 14 minutes (the last 4:26 of the first half and first 9:47 of the second half) and made four. The Pack was already up 32-16 when he started his 3-point flurry and 58-38 when he stopped.


The Wolf Pack point guard, for the most part, played an intelligent, controlled and efficient game with 10 points, eight assists, six rebounds and two steals in 30 minutes.

The only time Blackshear, who had seven turnovers in the Pack’s 69-66 win at UNLV last Saturday, was a little sloppy and out of control was when the game turned into a glorified scrubs-versus-starters scrimmage midway through the second half and he had two turnovers and missed a layup over a stretch of just under two minutes.

Blackshear’s eight assists (he also had eight at Wyoming on Jan. 20) led to 21 Wolf Pack points as he simply toyed with the Wyoming guards. Blackshear was an efficient 4-of-6 from the floor (no threes) and 2-of-2 from the line.


Davidson fought through foul trouble (four) to score 11 points with five rebounds, two steals and an assist in just 25 minutes. The 6-8 sophomore was 4-of-8 from the floor and 2-of-4 on threes, ending an 0-for-9 drought from long distance.

Davidson only had three points at halftime, going 1-of-4 from the floor. He did have an offensive rebound and a layup for a 75-56 lead with two minutes to play to avoid his first single-digit scoring game since he had six at New Mexico on Jan. 28 (six games ago).

Davidson picked up his fourth foul with 10:42 to play and was sent to the bench for the next five minutes. He returned with the Pack up 65-47 with 5:48 to go and ended his night on a positive note with the offensive rebound and layup and a steal before going back to the bench with 77 seconds left.


Coleman loves the Wyoming Cowboys.

The 6-7 fourth-year player shredded the Cowboys for 20 points, four threes, four assists and three steals in 35 minutes on Tuesday, just a month after he had 23 points, four threes, five rebounds, four assists and four steals in the Pack’s 98-93 loss at Laramie on Jan. 20.

Wyoming, therefore, knew what was coming on Tuesday and still couldn’t stop it. Coleman also had 22 points and four threes against Wyoming last season (Feb. 27) and has now scored 65 points on a dozen 3-pointers over his last three games against the Cowboys.

It was Coleman that basically tore the game open for the Pack with three threes and 11 points, two assists, a block and a steal as the Pack took a 22-11 lead 10 minutes into the game.

The Pack outscored Wyoming 47-18 over Coleman’s first 20:31 on the court.


Hymes gave the Pack four points (2-of-2 from the floor), three blocks and an assist in his 23 minutes but also missed all four of his free throws and had three fouls. He blocked two Mason Walters layup attempts in a span of just six seconds midway through the second half.

Hymes missed two free throws two minutes into the game and two more with 3:21 left in the first half. His two jumpers in the paint came with 2:47 left in the first half and 8:51 to go in the game.




McIntosh was given just 10 minutes and contributed a pair of assists midway through the second half. He missed his only two shots (two threes), one in each half.

The 6-foot-3 McIntosh, a transfer after the 2021-22 season from Elon, has simply not made much of an impact since moving to a bench role after suffering a knee injury before last season. He’s averaged 1.7 points, 1.7 assists and has shot 5-of-26 (19 percent) over his last 11 games.


Foster was a non-factor in this blowout victory, playing 20 minutes and taking just one shot and scoring two points with two steals, three rebounds and an assist as well as two fouls and a turnover.

His only shot and points came on a dunk off a feed from Blackshear with six minutes to go in the first half. His assist led to a 3-pointer by Lucas midway through the second half.


Rolison played just a dozen minutes but did put his stamp on the game during his first five-plus minutes in the first half. He had a 3-pointer, two steals and a layup in his first two-plus minutes as the Pack took a 24-11 lead with nine minutes left in the first half.

Rolison, who only played three minutes in the second half despite the one-sided score, also fed Lucas for a 3-pointer and a 44-20 lead with under a minute to play in the opening half.


Pope, in his second game back from a leg injury, was a bundle of energy and hustle over a 36-second stretch in the second half when he missed two shots under the basket, grabbed an offensive rebound, stole the ball and finally put in a short jumper in the paint for a 64-47 lead with 6:25 to play.

All that commotion, of course, meant little as far as the final score was concerned. But it did mean that Pope is ready to resume his role as one of the main contributors off the bench. He played just nine minutes on Tuesday with four points, two rebounds, two fouls and a steal and going 2-of-4 from the floor.


Coleman, Gardner and Robinson, the Wolf Pack’s victory formation, each played just one minute. Coleman was 1-of-2 from the line and Garnder threw up an off-target 3-pointer.


Steve Alford simply turned a disturbing 98-93 loss at Laramie against Wyoming on Jan. 20 into a near-flawless 76-58 win over the very same Cowboys in Reno on Feb 20.

We saw what a difference of 31 days and a switch in venues can make. But the Wolf Pack that played defense in Laramie was not the same Wolf Pack that played defense in Reno.

Credit Alford for bringing that change about.

The eye-opening 40-point improvement on defense against one team in the same season is the second largest in Wolf Pack history, after only a 59-point improvement against Saint Mary’s in 1975-76 (a 102-76 win followed by a 19-17 win).

That 59-point improvement took one of the strangest and most unique set of circumstances in Pack history. St. Mary’s coach Frank LaPorte, after the Pack dumped 102 points on his Gaels just 48 hours earlier in Reno, resorted to simply stalling and killing time off the clock each time his team had the ball at Moraga, Calif.

Alford and the Pack didn’t have any such silliness (the NCAA implemented the shot clock in the 1985-86 season to stop such things) to help their defense on Tuesday. The Pack simply suffocated the Cowboys at Lawlor, holding them to 10 fewer successful field goals, eight fewer successful threes and 12 fewer successful free throws than they did in Laramie a month earlier.

The Pack knew exactly where to focus their defensive energy on Tuesday, holding Wyoming guards Sam Griffin and Akuel Akot to just nine points combined on 2-of-16 shooting (1-of-9 on threes). Akot had three points and Griffin one at halftime. The two combined for 46 points in Laramie against the Pack on 15-of-24 shooting (9-of-17 threes).


The game had all the drama and energy of an NBA All-Star game. The Pack trailed just once (3-2) for a mere 18 seconds. The final margin was just 18 points, but it felt like 48.

But that’s what happens when just one team on the floor brings energy and focus. And, yes, the revenge factor after an embarrassing loss a month earlier certainly helped that energy and focus.

The Cowboys never really put up a fight. The Pack dominated on both ends of the floor. Nevada had 19 assists on 26 field goals and connected on 48 percent (26-of-54) of its shots overall and 42 percent (11-of-26) of its threes. The game was over at halftime as Wyoming was just 6-of-23 from the floor (2-of-12 on threes) in the first 20 minutes.

This was what the Pack (now 21-6, 8-5) was supposed to do to the Cowboys (now 13-13, 6-7) a month ago.


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