Mountain West Notes: Nevada Wolf Pack close to perfection
Wolf Pack seeks revenge at UNLV
Five losses by 21 points.
That’s all that separates No. 21 Nevada (25-5, 14-2) from being 30-0 entering Wednesday’s game (8 p.m., CBS Sports Network) against in-state rival UNLV at Thomas & Mack.
Pretty scary when you think about it. A couple of bounces or a couple of calls here or there, and Nevada would be a top-10 team without question. Maybe even No. 1.
“I look back at it all the time, especially the non-conference (games)” said sophomore swingman Josh Hall. “It was tough, but it also helped playing on the road and being mentally tough and fighting through adversity.”
“Coach (Musselman) does bring it up here and there, and how each possession matters,” senior Kendall Stephens said. “If you take plays off it bites you in the butt. It gives us confidence that we can play with anybody (in the country) as long as we are locked in.”
Musselman prefers to look at it a different way.
“You can look at it the other way,” he said Monday afternoon. “We’ve had five losses and none by wide margins. To me, the greatest thing a team can do is compete on a nightly basis. The losses we’ve had we’ve played hard but we just haven’t won. We were a loose ball away from beating USF and a call away from beating Wyoming on the road.”
The third-year Nevada coach pointed to games played in past years as ones that stand out.
“The games that stand out was the one at Utah State when we didn’t play well (74-57 loss) and year one when we got thumped twice against New Mexico and then beat them at the tournament,” he said. “We didn’t compete at the level we wanted to (in the losses).”
MARTIN EARNS HONOR
Cody Martin was named the Mountain West Player of the Week for his efforts in wins over San Jose State and Colorado State last week.
Martin averaged 9.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 steals per game. He had just two turnovers in 71 minutes of action last week. His 11 assists against Colorado State tied a Mountain West single-season mark for the season. Against CSU, he scored 17 points, dished out 11 assists and had nine rebounds.
It was only the second time a Nevada player had been honored as Musselman was quick to point out.
“We feel like we should have had more than two awards (this season),” the Nevada coach said. “I guess we’ll take them when we get them. We’ve had multiple players that have been deserving.”
WELAGE BRIGHT SPOT FOR SJSU
Ryan Welage was recently honored by the Spartans for passing the 1,000-point mark in his career.
Welage is averaging 18.3 a game, the first SJSU player to do so since James Kinney, who averaged 20.6 in 2012-13.
Welage has been the lone bright spot in a dismal season. The Spartans ride a 21-game losing streak heading into Wednesday’s game against Utah State.
AROUND THE MW
Air Force is 5-11 with two games left in the conference. The five wins are the most for the Falcons since the 2015-16 season. The Falcons haven’t won seven conference games since the 2012-13 season when they went 8-8 … Boise State is locked into the No. 2 seed for the MW Championships. At 19.9 points per game, 7.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 48.3 shooting, Chandler Hutchison is the only player to rank in the top 10 in all four of those categories … Colorado State is the No. 10 seed in the tournament. Junior Prentiss Nixon, who averages nearly 16 a game, has reached double figures 20 times this season … Fresno State ranks 13th nationally in shooting with a 49.9 percent average. The Bulldogs are the best 3-point shooting team in the MW at 40.4 percent … New Mexico leads the MW in several categories — free-throw percentage (76.6), steals per game (7.4), 3-point field goals per game (11.2), total 3-point field goals (325), total steals (215), turnover margin (4.7) and turnovers forced (16.9) … San Diego State finishes tough but at home against Boise State and Nevada. The Aztecs lead the conference in FG defense at nearly 42 percent and scoring defense (68 a game) … Utah State’s Sam Merrill has reached double figures in 24 of the Aggies’ last 27 games.