Pack grades: Blackshear wills Nevada to big win

Pack grades: Blackshear wills Nevada to big win

Scoring the Nevada Wolf Pack’s 74-72 men’s basketball win over the Boise State Broncos on Wednesday at the Lawlor Events Center:



Lucas’ highlight was a 3-pointer with just under three minutes to play that cut Boise State’s lead to 65-64. The rest of his evening was a frustrating flurry of missed shots and turnovers. The shooting guard missed 10 of 13 shots overall and turned the ball over five times (he had just nine turnovers in the first 13 games). His fifth turnover Wednesday nearly cost the Pack the game with 1:16 to play, trailing 68-67. Saving his night was a 3-of-6 three-point performance after going 5-of-20 from beyond the arc over the previous two games. All 14 of his points came from the line (5-of-6) or threes (he was 0-for-7 with twos). Still, Lucas stayed active throughout the night, dishing out more assists (two) and grabbing more rebounds (four) since he had six rebounds and three assists against Tulane nine games ago on Nov. 21.


Blackshear essentially took over the game with four minutes to play, put the Pack on his back and led his teammates to victory. With the Wolf Pack up 63-56, Blackshear fed Will Baker for a jumper (4:08 to go), a steal from Marcus Shaver (3:51), assisted on a 3-pointer by Jarod Lucas (2:56), converted a 3-pointer to tie the game at 67-67 (2:05), got a steal, was fouled by Shaver and drained two free throws for a 69-68 lead (1:11), then drove to the basket. twice to push with 37 and three seconds left for the lead 71-70 and 73-72. It was as impressive a crunch-time performance by a player in an important Mountain West game as any in recent Pack history. Blackshear finished with 20 points, five assists, two steals and two rebounds and did it all in just 27 minutes after playing just 10:30 of the first half due to two fouls. Four of Blackshear’s five assists led to 3-pointers (one by Tre Coleman and Nick Davidson and two by Jarod Lucas). Blackshear scored 16 points with four assists and two steals in his 17 second-half minutes.


The 7-foot Baker played 13 minutes in the first half, missed all three of his shots, had just one rebound and scored just two points. A dunk with 16:27 left in the second half, however, ignited the Pack’s center at just the right time. Baker played 10 minutes in the second half and scored 11 points, making all four of his shots. He was one of the biggest keys to the victory, scoring seven points in a span of just 67 seconds, cutting Boise State’s 61-54 lead to just 63-61 with 3:41 to play. Baker finished with 13 points in 23 minutes, draining 5-of-6 free throws. It was that 67-second, seven-point outburst, however, that clearly saved his performance as he had just two rebounds, didn’t have a block, didn’t steal or assist all game and missed just two of his 3-pointers.


The 6-7 Coleman drained a 3-pointer for a 28-27 lead with 1:56 to go in the first half, giving the Pack their first lead in more than 13 minutes (9-7). Then he disappeared late in the offensive game. Coleman made all of his shots (2-of-4, threes) and scored all of his points (seven) in the first half. Coleman, playing 18 minutes apiece, focused on the defensive end, pulling down a team-high seven rebounds (all off the defensive glass) with one block, though he didn’t have a steal. Three of his four assists also came in the first half, leading to three by Jarod Lucas, Tyler Powell and Darrion Williams. His shooting (seven points) and assists (nine) led to 16 first-half points, more than half of the Pack’s 30 points in the first 20 minutes. In the second half his shooting (zero) and assists (two on a Will Baker jumper) led to just two of the Pack’s 44 points.


Williams contributed little in the win, scoring just three points with four rebounds in 30 minutes. He hit a 3-pointer to cut Boise’s lead to 25-21 with 6:39 to go in the first half, but he finished 1-for-4 from the floor (all three). His lone steal, with 7:19 to go in the game, was quickly followed by a turnover of his own six seconds later and then a foul 10 seconds after that. In the first six minutes of the second half, he had a missed three, two fouls and a turnover. The 6-6 freshman offense has been dry since early December. Over his last six games, he has scored just 25 points on 10-of-44 shooting and 3-of-22 from three. His four rebounds Wednesday are also the third fewest he’s had in 14 games this year. Williams, however, continues to get big minutes (29 or more in his last eight games) and will be waiting for his offense to bounce back because the Pack needs him back.



Davidson scored eight points off the bench in 21 minutes, connecting on both of his 3-pointers. Both of those threes, however, felt like they came before Boise State knew he was in the game. He hit a 3-pointer just 39 seconds into the first half and just 35 seconds into the second half. The rest of his time on the floor was essentially idle minutes, though he did hit a jumper to cut Boise’s lead to 53-51 with nine minutes left. The 6-8 freshman had just one rebound in his 21 minutes and didn’t get to the line or have any assists, blocks or steals.


The 6-3 freshman was on the floor for just 4:20 and definitely made his presence known. He missed his only field goal, was 1-for-2 from the line, scored a point and pulled down three rebounds in his four minutes of action. All of his time came in the final five minutes of the first half as the Pack outscored Boise State 9-0 to take a 30-27 halftime lead. Pettigrew did not take the field in the second half. His three rebounds in four minutes were one more than the 7-foot-7 Baker in 23 minutes.


Powell had eight points in just 10 minutes, connecting on 3-of-5 shots (2-of-4 threes). He played just three minutes in the first half, scoring five points. His first-half 3-pointer cut Boise’s lead to 16-15 with 9:37 left in the half. Powell played a 7:22 stretch in the second half and was less productive, missing two threes. But he hit a three to pull the Pack within 50-49 with 10:15 to play.


A rusty Foster, playing in his first game since Dec. 3, didn’t score or take a shot in his 14 minutes. The 6-6 Foster pulled down two rebounds and had an assist while committing a foul and a turnover. He did not play in the final seven minutes, with the game on the line.


Alford, right now, is the best coach in the Mountain West. He squeezed out the Pack’s 11th win in 14 games Wednesday despite Boise outscoring the Wolf Pack 34-16 in the paint, had more rebounds (38-28), had more points per chance second (7-0) and Boise starters outscored its starters, 69-57. Alford’s top hitter (Jarod Lucas) also had an off night. The pack was in the lead for just 54 seconds of the final 14:34. Alford’s best move, it turned out, was sitting Kenan Blackshear for the final five minutes of the first half with the Pack down 27-21. The result was a 9-0 Pack run and a 30-27 halftime lead. Even the bench seemed to turn Blackshear on as he dominated the second half.


How did the Wolf Pack win this game? Well, the Pack bench outscored the Boise bench 17-3 and hit four threes. The Wolf Pack also had twice as many threes (10) as Boise (five), likely because they kept shooting (23 attempts) while the shy Broncos shot just 16. It also didn’t hurt the Pack that Boise had two starters (Tyson Degenhart and Naje Smith) fouled out and another (Marcus Shaver) had four fouls. The Pack defense also stifled Boise’s Max Rice, who had just two points in 27 minutes. The crowd (7,911) also played a big part in this win and the Wolf Pack just puffed out their chests at the right time and stole this game from the Broncos. This game will likely expose more of Boise’s concerns than the Pack’s highlighted positives, but that’s what you’re supposed to do at home, especially in your Mountain West opener. This is, without question, one of the heaviest and most important wins at the Lawlor Events Center in recent Pack history.

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