Aggies drop Pack
LOGAN, Utah – Nevada’s conference-leading offense ground to a halt Wednesday night.
The Wolf Pack set season lows in field goals made (22), field goal percentage (31.9), 3-point percentage (15.4) and free-throw percentage (45 percent).
The result was a 74-57 loss to Utah State at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum which dropped the Pack into a first-place tie with Boise State.
Nevada fell to 18-5 overall and 7-3 in league. The loss was Nevada’s first in four games.
“You have to give Utah State a ton of credit,” Nevada coach Eric Musselman said. “Their crowd got into it. I thought Utah State was phenomenal in the second half. Marcus (Marshall) couldn’t get going at all.
“We were stagnant on offense and played our worst game of the year and played on the road against a team that has a lot of talent. Their record does not indicate who they are at all. (Koby) McEwen is a phenomenal freshman and I thought (Sam) Merrill played unbelievable defense on Marcus tonight.”
Marshall was held to a season-low two points. He entered the game averaging 21.
“The best defensive performance since I took over,” Utah State head coach Tim Duryea said. “Considering the competition and importance of the game for our path, it was an A-plus defensive performance for 40 minutes.
“A lot of guys did a lot of things but the job Sam Merrill did on Marcus Marshall, I didn’t think was possible. I was hoping for 12-13 points. He’s the league’s leading scorer. Shane (Rector) guarded him for a few possessions while Sam got some rest. It starts there. Those guys did a great job. They are a talented group and a hard group to guard. The percentages that we held them to, that tells the story of the game.”
Tied at 25 at the half, Utah State went on an 8-2 run to go up 40-35 midway through the second half.
Merrill started the barrage with a 3-pointer, Norbert Janicek added a free throw and Koby McEwen buried a 3-pointer to make it 38-33. After Cam Oliver (14 points, 13 rebounds) scored, Jalen Moore (13 points) scored for the Aggies to make it 40-35.
It was Oliver’s second double-double in three games and sixth of the season.
Nevada closed to 43-40 on a 3-pointer by Fenner and a tip-in by Oliver, but the Aggies retaliated with a 9-2 run to take a double-digit lead, 52-42, with 7:03 remaining.
McEwen, who led all scorers with 26 points, had five straight in the surge. Moore (13 points) scored on a lay-up and Shane Rector also scored from close range. McEwen scored 19 of his 26 in the final 12 minutes.
“We played really hard,” Moore said. “The first half was really close. The second half we kind of blew it open a little bit. We were able to maintain a lead. It feels good to get two wins in a row and now we get to go play the second-place team. Winning tonight shows that we can play with anybody and beat anybody. It was a huge confidence boost for us. We needed that. We’re playing well right now, we want to keep that going.”
NOTES: Nevada had a season-low six turnovers … Fenner and sophomore Jordan Caroline each scored 15 points.