Sparks Tribune and Associated Press
After a highlight-reel worthy 40-point victory performance over Colorado State last Wednesday, the Nevada men’s basketball team enjoyed a rare weekend off before its rivalry game with UNLV last night in Las Vegas.
Despite the blowout victory, the Wolf Pack dropped one spot in Monday’s AP Top 25 poll to No. 8.
Nevada 100, Colorado State 60
Nevada coach Eric Musselman threatened to turn off the 3-point green light after a lackluster shooting performance Saturday by the seventh-ranked Wolf Pack against Air Force.
Musselman sang a different tune following his team’s 100-60 win Wednesday night over Colorado State.
“I kind of wanted to get under their skin a little bit,” Musselman said. “They were having a good time tonight when they started knocking them down. They were pointing at me and laughing.”
Jordan Caroline scored a season-high 26 points and Musselman earned his 100th victory since coming to Nevada in 2015.
Cody Martin added 19 points and brother Caleb Martin had 18 for the Wolf Pack (19-1, 6-1 Mountain West Conference), who shot 56 percent from the floor and 48 percent beyond the arc. Trey Porter scored 13 and Tre’Shawn Thurman 10.
Nevada managed only 20 points in the first half against Air Force.
“It’s one of those things that we knew we were a much better team than 20 points in a half,” Caleb Martin said. “You just kind of look at yourself and say, ‘This is ridiculous.’”
J.D. Paige led the Rams (7-12, 2-4) with 18 points. Nico Carvacho had 11 points and 14 rebounds.
“They’re the No. 7 team in the country for a reason,” Colorado State first-year coach Niko Medved said. “They are athletic and talented. We were there in the first half and just let it slip away quickly in the second.”
Nevada had huge advantages in points in the paint (40-18), points off turnovers (35-5), fast-break points (14-2) and assists (21-13). Colorado State committed 21 turnovers to Nevada’s seven before a crowd of 10,391.
“It was on auto pilot,” Musselman said. “I could have gone out in the student section … (and) had fun because when the guys are playing like that, they don’t really need us.”
Carvacho entered shooting 60 percent from the field, best in the Mountain West. He was 5 of 13 against Nevada as the Rams shot 40 percent.
“It’s great to put forth a great offensive and defensive game,” Porter said. “It definitely gives us a little bit of momentum going into the UNLV game. This is my first year here. I’m new to the rivalry, but from what I’ve heard it’s a pretty big rivalry.”
Colorado State: The defense struggled again. Colorado State entered ranked second-to-last in the Mountain West in scoring defense (77.1) and blocked shots (1.9), and last in defensive 3-point percentage (37 percent). Nevada, the top-scoring offense in the conference, rolled to its second-highest point total of the season.
Nevada: The 20 points against Air Force marked the lowest first-half output in Musselman’s tenure at Nevada. This time, the Wolf Pack made 10 of their first 12 shots and entered the break shooting 56 percent from the floor, their third-best mark all season.
Musselman reached his 100th collegiate victory midway through his fourth season as an NCAA coach, making him the fastest in Nevada history. He is 44-16 in Mountain West games.