RENO, Nevada – It wasn’t Nevada’s dynamic guard duo that made it, despite the fact that the preseason Mountain West Player of the Year, Grant Sherfield, had 10 points and 10 assists and Desmond Cambridge Jr. scored 18.
And while they hit 24 points and 22 rebounds together, it wasn’t the 7-footers of the wolf pack – Warren Washington and Will Baker – who really took off in a 79-70 men’s basketball win at the Lobos on Saturday night in Nevada The Lawlor Event Center.
UNM knew that no matter how hard they tried to stop them, such things could happen.
Saturday night the other Nevadas were the difference.
Tre Coleman scored nine of his 13 points in the second half and Kenan Blackshear scored six of his nine and made several key defensive games in the second half to spark the wolf pack (7-5, 1-0 Mountain West).
The Lobos, who have had an 11-day hiatus since their last game, drop to 7-7 overall and 0-1 in the MWC game.
It seemed clear early on that the wolf pack was determined to make the most of that height advantage at the post, as Washington and Baker scored 13 of the team’s first 15 points.
But with Nevada doing this on almost every run on the pitch, the Lobos managed to build up to nine points (22-13) and held a half-time lead of 36:35 on the road.
Insistence that the wolf pack forecourt was the focus of their first half-time violations resulted in Nevada’s Star Guard duo being kept in relative control. Sherfield only had two points on 0v4 and two free throws at break, and Cambridge had six points on 3 of 9.
Jaelen House led the UNM in the first half with 12 points. Saquan Singleton had 11 at break and the Lobos were leading 36:35 and managed to keep the announced 7,224 spectators mostly quiet.
But the wolf pack proved to be a lot to learn in the second half – and far too complete a team – to leave the surprise to the Lobos.
When Sherfield hits his first field goal of the game at 13:48, the momentum clearly shifted to the pack with a 46-41 lead.
A basket from Jamal Mashburn Jr. with a 10:10 remaining in play, pulling the Lobos within 52-48, would be the final field goal UNM would score for the next 6 minutes and 20 seconds, while Nevada scored a 17- 2 run. leading 69-50 with under 5 to play.
From then on, UNM finally began firing shots, including four 3s in a span of 3 minutes, reducing the deficit from 19 points to five in less than a minute. But the wolf pack ended the thing with 8 of 9 free throws in the last 1:16 to win.
House ended up with 18 points and six assists for UNM, Jamal Mashburn Jr. had 17 points but only 6-of-17 shooting and Singleton finished with a season high of 14 points.
UNM was held at 35.9% shooting, the Lobos’ fourth game in a row under 40%.
NEXT: January 8, Utah State at UNM, 6:00 p.m., CBS Sports Network, 770 AM / 96.3 FM
GAME BOOK: Nevada 79, UNM 70
CONTINUE READING: For a lot more news, notes and other little things from the game on Saturday, read the Empty Notebook.
Emptying the Notebook: UNM’s shooting problems continue in Nevada
Here are some additional notes, quotes, statistics, and anything else I could empty out …