For much of the game, it looked like Nevada’s effort at Utah State from a week and a half ago.
The Wolf Pack couldn’t buy a bucket (shot a season low 29.9 percent from the field), allowed a poor shooting San Diego State team to hit 48 percent from the field, and ultimately suffered the same result – a lopsided defeat.
Nevada (19-6, 8-4) dropped its second straight road game, 70-56, and fell from first to third place in the Mountain West. The Aztecs (14-10, 6-6) sit in a fifth-place tie with San Jose State.
When Nevada has struggled this year, it’s largely resulted from issues on the glass. In Sunday’s loss to San Diego State, the Wolf Pack only lost the rebounding battle, 41-38, but had to rely on the back court in that category – a suboptimal formula on the road. Especially at San Diego State, which improved to 8-3 at home this year.
Nevada remains winless at the Viejas Center.
Point guard Lindsey Drew and guard D.J. Fenner shared the team lead with seven rebounds apiece. Cam Oliver and Jordan Caroline both finished with six.
Factoring in San Diego’s high shooting percentage were countless looks at the rim. San Diego State outscored Nevada in the paint, 38-24.
Fenner was the lone reliant offensive weapon for the road team in the defeat. After exploding for a career-high 37 points against UNLV on Wednesday night, Fenner scored a game-high 21 on 8-of-16 shooting. Caroline hit 3-of-13 shots to finish with 12 points. And Oliver finished with 10 (4-of-14 shooting) after being held scoreless in the first 20 minutes.
Marcus Marshall, the conference’s leading scorer, was held to four points on 1-of-10 shooting. He was outscored by Leland King off the bench (five points).
Nevada trailed 42-28 at the half and saw the deficit grow as large as 20 in the second half before the final 14-point margin.
NCAA Tournament at-large hopes are now likely dead for Nevada, leaving the final six conference games of the season to earn a first-round bye (top five seeds) in the Mountain West Tournament and best position possible.
Nevada is just one game behind Boise State, and a half-game behind Colorado State and has never won a Mountain West regular-season title.
The Wolf Pack stays on the road Wednesday night to play Air Force (11-13, 5-8).
Tip is at 6 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN3. Nevada is 5-4 on the road this year.