It's rematch time Saturday evening with SJSU hosting Nevada and minus the elevation.
Here's a combination of analysis from Reno Gazette-Journal reporter Chris Murray plus quotes from Coach David Carter on both last Saturday's game and the overall Wolf Pack season:
"...and most important, has been the knowledge that comes with experience.
Carter said the fact that Nevada pulled away from San Jose State in its last game rather than let the Spartans creep back in was the latest symbol of maturation.
"It's a big sign," Carter said after the 89-69 victory. "I think the team has grown a lot from four weeks ago until now. We're much more confident, we're playing better, we know what we're doing."
The most notable difference has been the Wolf Pack offense.
Nevada is averaging six points more per game in WAC play than non-conference play (67.1 ppg to 73.2 pgg). Its field-goal percentage has risen from 39.9 percent to 45.6 percent.
Still, there are lessons to be learned. The Pack has twice folded down the stretch against Utah State this season after trying to play as individuals rather than trusting the system and playing as a team...
...Carter said that mistake was fixed in the win over SJSU.
"We were sharing the ball really well," Carter said. "We were moving the ball against their zone. They played zone and man and kind of mixed it up, and we learned from that Utah State game. Whatever sets we call, you have to execute it. I thought against Utah State we were thinking too much -- 'They're in zone; they're in man' -- and the offense wasn't crisp. Against San Jose State, we were moving the ball and running our stuff no matter what defense they were in."
Freshman Deonte Burton has led Nevada five times in scoring since WAC play began, compared to once in non-league action. He's the #6 scorer in the league (15.2) with Dario Hunt coming in at #12 (14.0). Hunt is shooting 63% which is second in the conference while grabbing 9.5 rebounds (3.1 offensively) and rejecting 2.3 shots a contest. Olek Czyz is shooting 61% and a threat from outside at 47%.
In the previous contest against the Spartans, starters Malik Story shot 6-11 and Jerry Evans 4-8, this after entering the game shooting 37% and 38% respectively.
Our February 5 game report:
There was no Miracle in Moscow -- if you will -- this time. In fact, Jerry Evans, who entered the game averaging 4.1 points per game for Nevada, scored 11 in the first half. Patrick Nyeko, who hadn't nailed a three-pointer all season (0-6), claimed his first one.
At the conclusion, it was Nevada 89-69 over SJSU.
The Spartans kept within 10 or so points for much of the second half but just couldn't cut further into the deficit.
Adrian Oliver led the scoring with 25 points. Keith Shamburger added 16 and Justin Graham contributed 14.
The shooting numbers tell a tale. The Wolf Packers shot 52%, went 8-18 from long distance and 23-29 at the foul line. San Jose State shot 39%, going 3-14 from beyond the three-point line and 16-25 at the charity stripe.
It was 40-31 Nevada after the initial 20 minutes. In that period, the largest Spartan deficit was 18.
The Wolf Pack WAC schedule to date
Dec 31 Hawai'i 86 - 69 (W)
Jan 03 @ Fresno State 74 - 80 (L)
Jan 08 Utah State 67 - 81 (L)
Jan 12 @ Idaho 67 - 72 (L)
Jan 15 @ Boise State 69 - 67 (W)
Deonte Burton scored 20 points and Malik Story added 16 to lead Nevada to a 69-67 victory over Boise State on Saturday night. Dario Hunt had 12 points and eight rebounds as Nevada (5-13, 2-3 Western Athletic) snapped a three-game losing streak. Nevada trailed 56-52 with less than six minutes remaining before Story staged a personal 8-0 run, scoring on a layup and two high-arching 3-pointers from the left corner. The second gave the Wolf Pack a 60-56 advantage with 3:34 left.
Jan 20 New Mexico State 90 - 71 (W)
Deonte Burton scored 22 points to lead five Nevada players in double digits as part of a 90-71 win over New Mexico State on Thursday night. The Wolf Pack (6-13, 3-3 WAC) led 43-36 at halftime and never trailed after that. Dario Hunt picked up a double-double for Nevada with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Olek Czyz added 15 points, Malik Story 10 and Derrell Conner 10 for the Wolf Pack.
Jan 22 Louisiana Tech 66 - 58 (W)
Deonte Burton scored 18 points and Dario Hunt had 16 as Nevada rallied to beat Louisiana Tech 66-58 on Saturday night. Malik Story added 10 points for the Wolf Pack (7-13, 4-3 WAC). Louisiana Tech led by as many as eight points in the first half and led 33-28 at halftime. Nevada opened the second half with a 16-6 run to go up 44-39 with 14:16 left and stretched the lead to 57-45 on a jumper by Jordan Burris with 7:33 to play.
Jan 27 Fresno State 79 - 76 (W)
Dario Hunt had 24 points and 11 rebounds Thursday night as Nevada held on to beat Fresno State 79-76. Deonte Burton added 17 points and Malik Story 13 for the Wolf Pack (8-13, 5-3 Western Athletic), who won their fourth consecutive game.
Feb 2 @ Utah State 67-45 (L)
Brockeith Pane scored 18 points to lead No. 22 Utah State to a 67-45 win over Nevada on Wednesday night for the Aggies' 16th straight victory. The Aggies led 29-28 at the half before beginning the second half with a 21-6 run to take control of the game. Jardine sparked the team during the spurt. Deonte Burton scored 11 points and Dario Hunt grabbed 10 rebounds for Nevada (8-14, 5-4), which was held to its lowest offensive output in 10 years - shooting just 25 percent from the field in the second half.
Feb 5 San Jose State 89-69 (W)
Dario Hunt had 16 points and a career-best 19 rebounds to lead Nevada past San Jose State 89-69 on Saturday night. Malik Story had 16 points, Jerry Evans Jr. 11 and Olek Czyz 10 for the Wolf Pack (9-14 overall, 6-4 WAC). Nevada controlled the game from the start, making 10 of its first 13 shots from the field and building a 35-17 lead with 7:36 to play in the first half.
Coach David Carter's Starting Five (stats are for the season)
* 6-foot-1 Deonte Burton - 13.5 ppg., shooting 42% overall and 30% from long distance respectively, a team-leading 77 assists, team-leading 26 steals
*6-foot-5 Malik Story - 13.4 ppg., shooting 38% and 42% respectively (figure that one out), 3.4 rpg., he more of a streaky shooter
* 6-foot-8 Jerry Evans - 4.1 ppg., 3.8 rpg., shooting 37%, is long and lanky, starting because of his defensive prowess
* 6-foot-7 Olek Czyz - 13.4 ppg., shooting 56% and 42% respectively, 5.7 rpg., the quickest jumper on the team, not a creator as yet with the ball
* 6-foot-8 Dario Hunt - 13.7 points per game, shooting 54% overall, 72% at the line (he was at 47% last season), 9.4 rebounds a contest, 34 blocked shots but foul trouble in the last few games has limited his playing time
Off The Bench
* 6-foot-6 Patrick Nyeko - like Evans, he's a + defender so he may be used against Adrian Oliver and Justin Graham
* 6-foot-10 Devonte Elliott - has a world of promise, needs to add weight and develop an offensive repertoire
* 6-foot-9 Kevin Panzer - best known as a face-the-basket shooter in high school, he's still adjusting to D-1 basketball
* 6-foot-0 Derrell Conner - the backup at the point, he has been playing better of late, more than half of his shots have been treys, has a 33/33 A-to-TO ratio
* 6-foot-7 Jordan Burris - playing better of late but still rushing his shooting stroke, is more of a shooter than anything else at this point
*** Key stat to remember: Nevada is 1-11 away from Reno (combining away and neutral site games).
The Nevada Roster (alphabetized and by position)
Jordan Burris G 6-7 205 Fr
Deonte Burton G 6-1 185 Fr
Derrell Conner G 6-0 165 Jr
Jerry Evans G 6-8 188 Fr
Jordan Finn G 6-4 190 Fr.
Keith Fuetsch G 6-0 170 So
Patrick Nyeko G 6-6 180 So
Malik Story G 6-5 225 So
Adam Carp F 6-7 215 Sr
Marko Cukic F 6-9 250 So
Olek Czyz F 6-7 240 Jr
Devonte Elliott F 6-10 220 Fr
Dario Hunt F 6-8 230 Jr
Keith Olson F 6-10 270 Jr
Kevin Panzer F 6-9 205 Fr