Pack’s Sin City skid ends
LAS VEGAS — Deonte Burton scored 29 points Wednesday night to lead Nevada to a road win over Mountain West Conference-rival UNLV, 74-71.
Trailing 36-34 at halftime, the Wolf Pack scored the first 11 points of the second half to pull ahead 45-36. Michael Perez evened the game with a dunk, and A.J. West gave Nevada the lead for good at 38-36 with another dunk. A trey by Cole Huff and two Burton layups put the Pack ahead by nine.
Nevada continued on a 23-10 run to go up 57-46 with 11:13 left, and enjoyed a double-digit lead until UNLV ended the game with a 7-2 run.
Burton came within two points of tying his season high of 31. Burton has led the team in scoring 13 times this season with one of those games being a tie with Jerry Evans Jr. Both had 20 against UCLA earlier this year in a game played in Las Vegas.
Burton, the leading scorer in the MWC, has scored 16 or more points in all 16 games thus far, including 20 or more 11 times. He also pulled ahead of the legendary Nick Fazekas in free throws made (549-546).
The Wolf Pack (8-8, 3-0 Mountain West) got 18 points and seven rebounds from Perez, while West added 11 points and nine rebounds.
Nevada was outrebounded 46-38 by UNLV in the game but had better marksmanship, hitting 29 of 65 (45 percent) from the field.
UNLV (10-6, 1-2) had four players in double figures, led by Bryce Dejean-Jones’ 15 points. Roscoe Smith, the nation’s leading rebounder, had 13 points and 15 rebounds for the Runnin’ Rebels, who lost their second in a row at home.
“We’ve got to figure out why it is, that we’ve been so much better away from the Thomas and Mack, than we’ve been in the Thomas and Mack,” said UNLV coach Dave Rice, whose Rebels are 6-5 at home and 4-1 away from Las Vegas.
UNLV was outscored by Nevada in the paint, 38-32. The Rebels, who led by as many as 11 late in the first half, also shot an abysmal 3 of 15 (20 percent) from 3-point range, and just 22 of 63 (35 percent) from the field.
Nevada turned back UNLV’s 34-23 lead by closing the first half on an 11-2 run. The Wolf Pack held UNLV to just two points over a seven-minute period, spanning the final 3:10 of the first half and the first 3:50 of the second half.
Nevada has now won three in a row for the first time in the Mountain West, and will host Utah State on Saturday in Reno (5:05 p.m.).
UNLV, meanwhile, is off for a week and has two tough road games at New Mexico on Jan. 15 and No. 13 San Diego State on Jan. 18.
NOTES: Nevada is 5-4 away from Lawlor Events Center thus far, including 5-2 in true road games and 0-2 in neutral-court games. Nevada was 2-11 in true road games last season … Nevada is 7-6 in games decided by 10 points or less .. Burton now has 1,815 points in his career which puts him third behind Edgar Jones (1,877) … Evans was a season-worst 1-for-12 from the floor, including 0-for-7 from 3-point land. His 2-point effort also was a season low … West started his fourth game, and although hampered by foul problems, came within one rebound of his second double-double. It was his second nine-rebound effort in five games since being cleared to play by the NCAA. He has scored in double figures in three consecutive games… Coach David Carter is 82-66 as Nevada’s head coach. He is eight wins behind Pat Foster (1993-99)… The 18 points by Perez ties a season high.