This time, it didn’t take a 25-point miracle comeback.
Nevada held a six-point halftime lead over New Mexico on Saturday afternoon in a packed Lawlor Events Center and methodically pulled away in the second half for a convincing 82-65 win.
The Wolf Pack (18-4, 7-2) entered the contest with a narrow half-game lead over the Lobos (13-9, 6-4) atop the Mountain West and now heads into the second half of the conference schedule on the inside track to the regular season conference title.
The win completed a regular-season sweep of New Mexico. Nevada erased a 25-point deficit for a 105-104 overtime win in Albuquerque three weeks ago.
Jordan Caroline scored 45-points in the win at New Mexico and again had a big game on Saturday in front of 10,727 – the 12th largest crowd in Lawlor history.
Caroline scored 20 points on 5-of-9 shooting, 8-of-12 from the free throw line.
Cam Oliver turned in his second consecutive dominate performance after a double-double in Wednesday’s win at Boise State. Oliver went off for a game-high 26 points, hitting 10-of-17 shots from the field, 3-of-5 from deep.
Nevada’s lead was just 64-58 with less than six minutes when Oliver drilled a triple to balloon the lead to nine. Marcus Marshall then hit back-to-back shots from beyond the arc to grow the difference to 73-58 – an insurmountable mountain, even for two teams that partook in one of the craziest comebacks in college basketball history their last time out.
Rebounding has become a telling stat for this Nevada team the last couple weeks. The Wolf Pack was outrebounded 20-14 in the first half, but won on the glass out of the locker room. Both squads finished with 32.
Nevada entered the game with a massive statistical advantage from the three-point line and capitalized. It hit 11-of-23 shots from beyond the arc (48 percent). New Mexico was held to 5-of-23 from three.
The Mountain West leaders return to action on Wednesday night at Utah State (3-7, 9-12). Tip is at 6 p.m. and will be aired on ESPN3.