The Nevada Men’s Basketball team will travel to Laramie, Wyoming, on Monday night in search of a third consecutive victory, following a hard-fought road victory over Fresno State by a score of 60-56 in which their defensive prowess was on full display.
Nevada would clinch a winning record in away games this year and earn its 23rd victory of the season if it beats the Cowboys on the road, as the Pack is currently 6-6 in true road contests.
Nevada is coming off a grueling victory at Fresno State, where they put on an outstanding defensive performance by holding the Bulldogs to pathetic shooting percentages of 37.5 percent from the field and 25.7 percent from behind the arc. This victory comes after Nevada’s previous one. In an outstanding defensive performance, the Pack forced Fresno State into 17 turnovers and recorded 12 steals, matching a season high.
Will Baker scored 13 points for the Pack on 5-10 field goal shooting in the contest.
Baker is ranked second in the Mountain West in field goal percentage (56.3%), fifth in free throw percentage (83.7%), and fourteenth in points per game (14.1 PPG) heading into the matchup on Monday night.
Baker has improved in Mountain West play this season, averaging 15.4 points per game on 58.7% field goal shooting and 41.2 percent from 3-point range. He also averages 5.2 boards per game against Mountain West opponents.
Kenan Blackshear’s versatility was fully displayed in yet another outstanding all-around performance against Fresno State. The senior went 4-7 from the field and 1-0 from behind the arc to score 11 points; while also racking up three steals, three rebounds, and a game-high six assists.
This season, the all-around point guard is still in the top 15 of the Mountain West in a number of individual statistical categories. Blackshear currently ranks third in the conference for assists per game (4.8 APG), sixth in steals per game (1.6 SPG), seventh in field goal percentage (46.5%), eleventh in points per game (14.6 PPG), twelveth in free throw percentage (779.9%), and twelveth in minutes played per game (32.4 MPG).
Blackshear is second on the team in total scoring this season with 422 points, and he is just nine points away from scoring 1,000 points in his career going into Monday’s game.
On Friday night against Fresno State, Nevada’s defense was led by junior forward Tré Coleman, who put together a sensational performance that included a career-high five steals in the first half alone. In addition, Coleman had one block. He has now recorded at least one steal in nine of the Pack’s last ten games and at least one block in nine of those games.
Throughout the season, Coleman has continued to climb the conference rankings; he currently ranks ninth in the Mountain West for blocked shots (27) and 11th for steals (33).
Friday’s victory over Fresno State was led by eight points from Jarod Lucas. Additionally, Lucas was second on the team with five rebounds, two assists, and one steal.
In a variety of statistical categories, the senior sharpshooter is still among the best in the conference. In the Mountain West, Lucas ranks second with 72 made 3-pointers, third with an 86.1% free throw percentage, sixth with 16.5 points per game, and sixth with 34.0 minutes per game.
Darrion Williams, a freshman, had another impressive performance against the Bulldogs. He scored 10 points on 4-10 shooting, grabbed a team-high eight rebounds, and had two steals. In 16 of Nevada’s 29 games this season, Williams has led the team in rebounding. Williams averages 7.2 boards per game, placing him first on the team and fourth overall in the Mountain West in terms of rebounds per game. Williams also has 1.5 steals per game, which puts him seventh in the league.
In Nevada’s victory over Fresno State, Hunter McIntosh, Nick Davidson, and Daniel Foster contributed a lot of points off the bench.
Six points and two crucial three-pointers were scored by McIntosh, who was only playing in his second game of the season after returning from an injury suffered in the preseason. In 13 minutes of play, he finished the game with a plus/minus of +4.
In 14 minutes of action, Davidson netted five points and had a plus/minus of +11, good for a game-high. while Foster grabbed four rebounds, three of which came from the offensive glass, in addition to scoring two points. Foster also had one steal, and in 16 minutes of action, the junior finished the game with a plus/minus of +9.
Nevada has remained at the top of the Mountain West in numerous defensive statistical categories as a team throughout the season. The Pack currently ranks second in their opponent’s field goal percentage (41.6 percent), fourth in their opponent’s points per game (65.9 PPG), fourth in their defensive rebounding (26.0 per game), fourth in their forced turnovers (371), fifth in their opponent’s 3-point field goal percentage (32.4 percent), and fifth in steals per game (6.2 SPG).
Nevada’s offensive numbers have significantly improved this season in Mountain West play. The Pack currently lead the league in free throw percentage (80.5%), points per game (72.5 PPG), field goal percentage (46.6%), assists per game (14.1), and 3-point field goal percentage (36.5%) during conference play.
Nevada is 6-6 in true road games this season, and they will play Wyoming, a team that has been much better at home than on the road this year. The Pack will be trying to get to 23-7 overall and 13-4 in Mountain West play this year. Nevada has a record of 6-6 in true road games this season.
Wyoming enters the matchup on Monday night with a record of 3-13 in Mountain West play and an overall record of 8-20.
The Cowboys have performed significantly better than on the road at the Arena-Auditorium, where they have won six of their eight games this season.
Hunter Maldonado, who was named to the 2021-22 First-Team All-Mountain West team, has led Wyoming. Maldonado is one of the conference’s most dangerous offensive players. He leads the league in scoring with 14.9 points per game, shoots 48.7% from the field, and shoots 32.3 percent from behind the arc in Monday’s game. Maldonado also has the most steals (1.4 SPG), rebounds (4.7 RPG), and assists (3.9 APG) on the team.
The Cowboys have benefited greatly from the contributions of Hunter Thompson, Jeremiah Oden, and Brendan Wenzel this season in addition to Maldonado.
This season, Wenzel is grabbing 4.0 boards per game and scoring 8.5 points per game while making 40.2 percent of his shots from behind the arc.
Additionally, Oden is grabbing 3.7 rebounds per game and scoring 8.5 points per game on 42.3 percent field goal shooting and 32.5 percent 3-point shooting.
Thompson has continued to improve throughout the season, averaging 7.0 points and 5.0 rebounds per game going into Monday’s game.
Nevada will try to win the rebounding battle and put on another impressive defensive performance against the Cowboys in order to get their 23rd victory of the season.
History of the Series
Nevada and Wyoming have met 22 times over the course of their history, with the Cowboys winning the series 14-8. In the most recent meeting between the two teams, Wyoming prevailed 74-61 in February 2022.