Nevada takes top spot in the MW
BOISE, Idaho — For about 27 minutes, the first-place Mountain West Conference showdown between Nevada and Boise State lived up to the hype.
Nevada led 46-40 with 13:43 left to play, but the Wolf Pack outscored the Broncos 24-13 over the next nine minutes en route to a 76-57 win before a crowd of 7,059 at Taco Bell Arena.
Nevada improved to 17-4 overall and 6-2 in league play, while the Broncos dropped to 12-7 and 5-3. Nevada kept up its streak of not losing back-to-back games in the Eric Musselman era, and the Pack snapped a four-game losing streak to the Broncos.
D. J. Fenner (21 points) started the surge with a 3-pointer to make it 49-40. After three Chandler Hutchison free throws, Josh Hall drained a foul shot for a 50-43 margin.
Two buckets by Hutchison shaved the lead to 52-49, but the Pack went on a 7-0 run thanks to a trey by Marcus Marshall (18 points), a lay-up by Jordan Caroline and two free throws by Cameron Oliver (17 points, 15 rebounds) to extend the lead to 59-49.
Hutchison, who led all scorers with 23 points, penetrated for a lay-up to trim the lead to 59-51 with 7:14 left. Fenner drained back-to-back 3-pointers and Marshall added a trey to extend the lead to 68-51 with 5:23 left. The teams essentially traded baskets the rest of the way.
Nevada used 12 second-chance points in the opening half to grab a 37-32 lead. Oliver, who recorded his fifth double-double of the season scored 11 in the opening half. Hutchison converted a layup with four seconds left to get the Broncos (12-7, 5-3) within five points at intermission, 37-32, and then hit a jumper to get within three in the opening minute of the second half. Fenner answered with a jumper and Nevada slowly pulled away throughout the half.
NOTES: Of Oliver’s 15 rebounds, 10 came at the defensive end … Nevada’s starting lineup accounted for 70 of the team’s 76 points. The only bench player to score was freshman Hall, who finished with six points, four rebounds and two assists in 19 minutes of action … Fenner eclipsed the 20-pont mark for the fourth time this season and second time in three games … For the 15th time this season, Nevada had four players in double figures. The only starter to not hit double figures was Lindsey Drew, who had two points, five assists and four rebounds … Up next is New Mexico on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Lawlor Events Center.
Earlier this year, the Lobos blew a 25-point lead to Nevada, losing 105-104 in overtime.