March 21, 2012
STANFORD, Calif. - The Nevada men's basketball season came to an end Wednesday night as the Wolf Pack fell to Stanford in the quarterfinals of the National Invitation Tournament by a score of 84-56 at the Maples Pavilion.
Nevada, the fifth-seed in its bracket, finished the season 28-7, one victory shy of tying a school record for most wins in a season. Stanford, the No. 3 seed, improved to 24-11 and advanced to the semifinals in New York City.
"These guys exceeded my expectations," Nevada coach David Carter said. "There were a lot of positives. I'm proud of these guys. But the work starts next week to get better for next year."
Junior Malik Story led the Wolf Pack with 14 points while Deonte Burton added 13 points and Olek Czyz had 11.
Josh Owens and Chasson Randle led four Cardinal players in double figures with 15.
With the loss, forwards Dario Hunt and Czyz saw their illustrious Nevada careers come to a close.
"I'm proud of this team and I'm proud of these guys," Hunt said. "The future is bright for this program."
Nevada trailed by as much as 22 points in the second half but clawed back with a 9-0 run that started with an Olek Czyz bucket and was capped by a pair of Deonte Burton free throws with just over 12 minutes to play. But Stanford's Aaron Bright hit a three-pointer and the Cardinal had the lead back up to 21 with under eight minutes to play.
Free throws by Owens with 7:41 to play put the lead back over 20 and Nevada was unable to muster another run.
The Wolf Pack shot 38.8 percent from the floor while Stanford hit at a 53.4 percent clip. The Cardinal also held advantages in points in the paint (36-20), points off turnovers (21-5) and bench scoring (33-13).
Not a lot went right for the Wolf Pack in the first half. Dario Hunt picked up two fouls in the first seven minutes and Stanford took advantage of the edge in the paint. The Cardinal outscored Nevada 18-6 down low in the first 20 minutes and owned a 9-2 lead in second-chance points.
Malik Story nailed three 3-pointers in the first half, including one with 10 seconds left to cut an 18-point lead to 42-27 at the break.