Nevada comes back to beat Boise State
Appeal Sports Writer
BOISE, Idaho – Nick Fazekas said Nevada stole its 82-79 come-from-behind win over Boise State Thursday night at Taco Bell Arena.
Nevada coach Mark Fox, who watched his team snap a two-game Western Athletic Conference losing streak, begged to differ.
“No, we didn’t steal it,” Fox said. “We took it. Teams go through peaks and valleys, and this is one step out of the valley; the first step out.
“I’m proud of our team for hanging around and fighting back. It took until 13 or 14 minutes were left, but eventually we started to compete. This is one step. This was our 14th win, and now we work toward our 15th. Never did I lose faith in our team.”
And the team justified that faith in the final minutes, especially Kyle Shiloh, who poured in 20 points, including the Pack’s last four points of the game.
With the Pack trailing 79-78 with 1:47 left after Eric Lane’s layup, Shiloh drained his fourth 3-pointer of the game to make it 81-79.
The teams traded turnovers, and then Boise State’s Coby Karl, who scored a career-high 32 points, charged into Fazekas (25 points, 11 rebounds) with 12 seconds left. Facing heavy pressure, the Pack inbounded the ball to Shiloh, who was fouled in the backcourt. The clock showed 4.4 left, and Boise State coach Greg Graham asked the officials to check the time. After an eight-minute delay, the officials put two more seconds on the clock.
Shiloh missed the first shot, but drained the second for an 82-79 lead. Shiloh thought that Boise State tried to ice him. Fox said the officials made the correct call, but it took longer than he liked.
Boise State called timeout to set up a game-tying 3-pointer. The ball was inbounded to Eric Lane, who dribbled past halfcourt and gave it to Karl, who was unable to get a shot off in time.
“They did a good job of taking us out of what we wanted to do,” Graham said. “We were trying to get a 3 up.
“We played hard and got after it. It was a tough one, especially when you lead the whole game. The big thing was that they were 1-for-9 shooting 3-pointers the first half and 6-for-13 in the second half. I thought that was a big part of it. They made 25 free throws and we shot 18. That’s their M.O. They stepped it up defensively as well.”
Fox wasn’t pleased with his team’s defense, however.
“We weren’t very good,” Fox said. “It wasn’t up to our standards. They are a difficult to guard for us because … just a difficult guard. It’s what they do with the ball. They are hard to defend.”
Especially Karl, who finished 12-for-20 from the floor and 5-for-8 from the free throw line.
“Coby made a lot of big plays,” Fazekas said. “He didn’t play that well the first game.”
“He (Karl) made a lot of tough baskets,” Fox said. “He was terrific.”
But he couldn’t overcome the quartet of Fazekas, Shiloh, Mo Charlo (11) and Marcelus Kemp (11), who combined for 46 of Nevada’s 50 second-half points. Charlo had two key second-half putbacks and Kemp converted a critical three-point play, tying the game at 75 with 4:19 left.
“Our competitive spirit,” said Fox when asked what one thing turned the game in Nevada’s favor. “Marcelus and Mo came to life.”
If you watched Nevada play in the first half, you would have given them up for dead. Boise State shot 59 percent and outrebounded Nevada 21-13. Those two stats plus a 15-0 run by the Broncos, nine by Karl, paved the way for a 42-32 lead.
“It was night and day,” Fazekas said, explaining the difference between the first half and second half. “We didn’t defend anybody in the first half. When we came in at halftime, we knew we would have to go out in the second half with a lot of tenacity and fire.”
Giving up a big run is something Nevada has done in recent games. It happened against Saint Mary’s College and Fresno State, and to a lesser degree, Utah State. Nevada lost all three of those games, but showed enough heart to come back.
Nevada was coming off a nice 9-3 run thanks to a pair of hoops by Chad Bell, but Boise State, or rather Karl, stormed back.
Karl, who only scored 10 on 3-for-8 shooting the last time the teams met, started the surge with a floater in the key, and Kareem Lloyd scored on a stickback to make it 21-18. Then, in a span of nearly three minutes, it was Karl, Lane on a runner and Karl with a 3-pointer. Tez Banks scored on a putback to complete the surge and give Boise State a 29-21 lead.
Shiloh ended Nevada’s 5 minute 22 second drought with a 3-pointer, trimming the lead to 29-24. Banks scored again, and then the Broncos got a big break from the officials.
Lloyd drove the lane and appeared to have walked. Instead Bob Staffen called Fazekas for a foul, which irritated Fox so much that he received his second technical of the season. Karl, who scored 14 in the first half, hit the two technical free throws and Lloyd followed with two more to up the lead to 35-24.
“I had to make a point,” said Fox.
The Pack trailed by 10, 55-45, with 14:16 remaining, but slowly started to creep up on the Broncos.
Kemp, who scored all 11 of his points in the second half, tied the game at 62 with a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 8:45 left. Kurt Cunningham scored on a putback to make it 68-64, but the Broncos’ 6-10 center fouled Fazekas 20 feet from the basket, and the Nevada star hit three foul shots to make it 68-67.
Karl gave Boise State a 77-75 lead with 2:45 left, but Fazekas knocked in a 3-pointer for a 78-77 lead. Lane scored to give Boise its last lead, setting the stage for Shiloh’s heroics.
“Shiloh made some huge baskets,” Fox said. “Nick was consistent, and that was the difference.”