Sparks Tribune and Associated Press
Despite winning another pair of Mountain West Conference games in convincing fashion, the Nevada men’s basketball team fell one spot in Monday’s AP Top 25 poll.
Michigan was able to leap frog the Pack after knocking off Rutgers and Wisconsin last week. They received 1,253 votes to come in at No. 6 while Nevada was dropped to No. 7 with 1,230 votes. Tennessee, Duke, Gonzaga, Virginia and Kentucky rounded out the top 5 teams.
The Wolf Pack won for the ninth straight time on Saturday after getting revenge against New Mexico with a 91-62 win. Nevada’s only loss this season came on Jan. 5 against the Lobos.
Last Wednesday, the Pack completed a season sweep of Colorado State by defeating the Rams 98-82 in Fort Collins. Nevada outscored Colorado State 198-142 in its two meetings this season.
The Wolf Pack has now cracked the 90-point mark the last three games and have won by double-digits in eight of its nine games since falling to New Mexico in early January.
Nevada (23-1,10-1) has the week off from games and will play next at Wyoming Saturday night before playing at San Diego State next Wednesday.
Nevada 91, New Mexico 62
RENO — Coach Eric Musselman posted the score of Nevada’s 27-point loss to New Mexico on the homecourt scoreboard at the team’s next practice.
Forward Trey Porter said Musselman’s goal was simple.
“(So we knew) that we got smacked,” Porter said. “That’s one of the worst losses that I’ve had in my career.”
On Saturday, Porter had 20 points and nine rebounds as then No. 6 Nevada avenged its only loss of the season in a dominating 91-62 win over New Mexico.
“We did not want to be the nonaggressive team tonight,” Musselman said. “I didn’t care if we had 10 charges to start the game. We did not want to settle. Whoever was on the floor, we wanted them to be the five most aggressive people in the building.”
Caleb Martin scored 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting, and Jordan Caroline had 13 points and 13 rebounds. Jazz Johnson added 13 points to surpass 1,000 for his career, and Tre’Shawn Thurman finished with 10 in the win.
In a reversal of its loss last month, Nevada (23-1, 10-1 Mountain West) jumped to a 25-4 lead and led 51-26 at halftime.
Nevada shot 50 percent, while New Mexico shot 33.3 percent.
Nevada converted 20 turnovers by New Mexico into 22 points.
The Wolf Pack outrebounded the Lobos 49-35. Nevada won points in the paint, 42-20, and converted 17 of 24 free throws.
After a timeout with under four minutes, Musselman still noticed the fire in his players.
“Cody and Caleb and Jordan Caroline got in the faces of the other guys and said, ‘If you’re not going to defend like we are, we want back in the game,’” Musselman said “And that’s the type of group we have.”
Makuach Maluach led New Mexico (10-13, 4-7) with 19 points. Carlton Bragg scored 13.
After scoring a career-high 27 points against Nevada last month, guard Anthony Mathis was held to six points on 2-of-8 shooting.
New Mexico: After picking up its 85-58 blowout win Jan. 5 against Nevada — its largest victory against a top-10 team in program history — the Lobos lost the rematch and seventh in the last nine.
Nevada: The Wolf Pack, one of four teams in the nation with one loss, dominated the rematch Saturday, extended its nine-game win streak and maintained sole possession of first place in the conference.
NCAA TOURNAMENT REVEAL
When asked about the NCAA Tournament selection committee’s early bracket reveal Saturday, which had the Wolf Pack as a fourth seed in the South Region, Nevada’s Caleb Martin said: “As long as I’ve been here, we’ve always had to be a team that has to prove itself, it doesn’t matter how we’re doing. It doesn’t matter how far (we) go last year or what you’re ranked. All people see is you’re not in the ACC or you’re not in the Big Ten or whatever. So, guys will always try to figure out a way to not put respect with your name.”
The Wolf Pack announced attendance Saturday of 11,197, the 15th-most attended game in Lawlor Events Center history.
Nevada 98, Colorado State 82
FORT COLLINS — Caroline scored 30 of his season-high 40 points in the first half and No. 6 Nevada beat Colorado State 98-82 last Wednesday night.
Caroline finished five points shy of his career high set Jan. 7, 2017, at New Mexico, the only team to beat the Wolf Pack this season. He added 12 rebounds for his 14th double-double of the season, and his 41 career double-doubles are the most in Mountain West Conference history, breaking a tie with Kawhi Leonard and Andrew Bogut.
“That’s pretty good company,” Musselman said. “Once he got rolling, there was no stopping him.”
Caleb Martin added 25 points for Nevada, including a dunk off a lob from his twin, Cody, that capped a 10-2 run to end the game.
Nico Carvacho led the Rams with 24 points and 17 rebounds. Colorado State lost by 40 in Reno two weeks ago but gave the Wolf Pack a fight at home.
“I told our guys I thought this game was here for us,” Colorado State coach Niko Medved said. “They’re very talented, they’ve got guys that can make plays, but we fractured a little bit defensively. Our transition defense was poor.”
Caroline was 11-of-19 shooting on the night. He hit his first six 3-pointers and had as many points as the Rams (20) midway through the first half. He was 9-of-11 shooting overall and added six rebounds in the first 20 minutes.
“I just got hot,” Caroline said. “I tried to take the shots I like and take shots to stay in rhythm. I didn’t want our offense to get out of rhythm.”
Caroline had 26 in Nevada’s 100-60 win over Colorado State two weeks ago.
“Jordan Caroline, I hope I never have to see that guy again,” Medved said. “He is something. He is just a monster. It’s a brutal matchup, not just for us but for anyone, but especially for us right now. When he’s shooting the ball from 3 like that, it’s really hard to find answers.”