Largest announced crowd in Lawlor history witnesses 27-point rivalry rout
RENO – Famous boxing promoter Michael Buffer dropped his trademark in the front of the largest announced crowd in Lawlor Events Center history.
“Let’s get ready to rumble” he declared, after announcing the starting lineups, sending 11,841 (Lawlor capacity is 11,536) into a frenzy.
The crowd was certainly ready. Nevada, coming off a frustrating road loss to then-last-place Utah State was ready. UNLV was not.
The Wolf Pack jumped out a 24-point first-half lead Wednesday night and delivered a start-to-finish throttling off their in-state rivals, 104-77.
“We definitely were sharing the ball and getting good shots. I think that’s where we’re best at,” said D.J. Fenner, who won’t soon forget his final career home game against the Rebels. “Hopefully (I’ll remember this) forever. This was a career night for me. It feels really good.”
Fenner exploded for a career-high 37 points on 12-of-15 shooting, 5-of-6 from beyond the arc. His previous career high was 30, which he tallied last month against Air Force.
“He was just phenomenal,” second-year coach Eric Musselman said of Fenner. “It seemed like anything he threw up was going in. He played with great confidence … When you make five threes, sometimes guys starting hunting for extra shots and I don’t feel like he did that.”
Nevada (19-5, 8-3) improved to 5-0 after losses this year and pulled back into tie for first place in Mountain West with Boise State. UNLV (10-15, 3-9) dropped all alone into last place with its fifth-straight loss.
The win followed a particularly grueling week of practice, at four different gyms across Reno due to events held at Lawlor.
Cam Oliver, who just missed out on a double-double, scoring 25 points on 9-of-16 shooting and grabbing nine rebounds, said a team meeting and the practices following the 74-57 loss to the Aggies may end up being a turning point.
“We had a real sour taste in our mouths after that Utah State game. Coach Muss, he definitely wasn’t pleased, we weren’t either,” he said. “We really checked ourselves.”
As a team, Nevada shot 38-of-72 (53 percent) from the field, 11-of-21 from deep. The 38 field goals were a season high.
Jordan Carline recorded a double-double, finishing with 11 points and as many board.
Marcus Marshall was the fourth Nevada player in double figures, scoring nine of his 15 points in the second half.
The victors improved to 13-1 when winning the battle on the glass, out rebounding the Rebels, 46-32.
“I thought, tonight, the rebounding was the difference in the game,” Musselman said.
Unsurprisingly, the second half provided little drama. Twice the Rebels got within 14. Both times Nevada responded with 5-0 runs to quell UNLV’s thoughts.
In fact, the only real drama of the night became whether Nevada would break the 100-point threshold for the second time this season – which it did, fittingly, on a Fenner banked runner with 1:37 remaining.
Nevada took a 58-39 lead to the locker room. The 58 points where the most scored by the Wolf Pack in a first half this season (previous high was 48 against Oregon State). It was one more point than the team scored in the entirety of the loss at Utah State.
The 104 points were the most points Nevada has ever scored in the history of the 83-game series with UNLV, and the widest margin in a Wolf Pack win (27 points).
Nevada hits the road on Sunday to play San Diego State (13-10, 5-6). The Wolf Pack won the first meeting, in Reno, 72-69, last month.
Tip is at 1 p.m. and will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network.