BOISE STATE BRONCOS (7-5, 1-0 WAC) vs. No. 21/15 NEVADA WOLF PACK (13-1, 1-0 WAC)
GAME NO. 15
Mon., Jan. 8, 2007 - 7:05 p.m. PT - Lawlor Events Center (11,536) - Reno, Nev.
TELEVISION: wac.tv (live video streaming on the internet on a pay-per-view basis)
RADIO: Wolf Pack Sports Network (ESPN Radio 630 AM, Reno)
Dan Gustin (play-by-play) & Don Marchand (color)
Pregame, 6:20 p.m. PT
SERIES HISTORY: Nevada leads the series 31-18.
LAST MEETING: Nevada won both meetings between the two teams last year, including an 81-67
win on Jan. 14, 2006 in Reno and an 82-79 victory on Jan. 26, 2006 in Boise.
Following an 81-55 victory over Idaho in Saturday night’s conference opener, the three-time defending Western Athletic Conference champion Nevada Wolf Pack (13-1, 1-0 WAC) continues league play on Monday night, playing host to Boise State (7-5, 1-0 WAC) at 7:05 p.m. at Lawlor Events Center. Winners of six consecutive games and 16 of its last 17 home contests, Nevada won its fourth WAC opener in five years with Saturday’s victory over the Vandals and looks to open the WAC season 2-0 for just the second time since joining the league in 2000-01 on Monday vs. Boise State. Ranked 21st and 15th in the Jan. 1 Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ polls, respectively (with new polls to be released on Monday afternoon), the Wolf Pack is off to its best start in 55 years with a 132-1 record. Following Monday night’s game with the Broncos, Nevada will take its nine-game road winning streak into league play, traveling to San Jose State on Thursday, Jan. 11 and to Hawai’i on Saturday, Jan. 13.
NEVADA IN WAC OPENERS
After turning in an 81-55 victory over Idaho on Saturday, Nevada now holds a 4-3 record in Western Athletic Conference openers since joining the league in 2000-01. The Wolf Pack has won four of its last five WAC openers with the only blemish coming last year when the team dropped a 73-69 overtime contest at Hawai’i on Jan. 5 in Honolulu.
Saturday against Idaho, Nevada opened conference play at home for just the second time in its seven years as a member of the WAC, while on Monday, the team will look to open league action with back-to-back wins for just the second time in its seven years as a member of the WAC. The 2004-05 season marked the only other time that Nevada has won its first two WAC games with that squad earning victory in its first four.
After opening league play with a 3-3 mark last year, the Wolf Pack won its final 10 WAC games to finish with a 13-3 conference mark and its third consecutive WAC regular-season championship. In 2004-05, Nevada opened WAC play with four straight victories and won seven of its first eight league games en route to a WAC-record 16-2 overall mark and sole possession of the WAC championship. The team also won a share of the league title in 2003-04, tying for first with UTEP with a 13-5 mark.
ABOUT THE BOISE STATE BRONCOS
Boise State has turned in a 7-5 record so far this season and has won its last two games and five of its last six. The Broncos opened WAC play on Thursday, turning in a 77-66 victory over Utah State in Boise. The team’s only loss in the last six games was an 84-82 double-overtime loss at Loyola Marymount on Dec. 19, while a Dec. 22 meeting with Colorado State in Boise was postponed due to the blizzard in Colorado. Under the direction of fifth-year head coach Greg Graham (73-64 record at BSU), the Broncos returned five starters and eight letterwinners fromlast year’s 14-15 team. Boise State finished seventh in the WAC last year with a 6-10 record.
Junior forward Matt Nelson (6-9, 233) is leading three Broncos in double figures for scoring with 15.0 points per game (seventh in the WAC). He is also the team’s top rebounder and ranked third in the league with 8.7 boards per game and has the WAC’s best field goal percentage at 63.9 (69-108). Preseason All-WAC honoree Coby Karl, a 6-5, 216-pound senior guard is averaging 14.8 points per game, while junior forward Reggie Larry (6-6, 222), a transfer from the College of Southern Idaho, is adding 12.7 points and 7.5 rebounds per contest. Karl is also the team’s top three-point shooter, knocking down 43.8 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc (32-73), which is good for fourth in the WAC.
IN THE SERIES
Nevada leads the series with Boise State 31-18 and has won the last two meetings between the two teams and 11 of the last 13. Last year, the Wolf Pack took both of the regular-season meetings between the two squads, turning in an 81-67 victory on Jan. 14, 2006 in Reno and an 82-79 win on Jan. 26, 2006 in Boise. That Jan. 26 win started Nevada’s 14-game winning streak last season. The Broncos’ last victory in the series was just one of six games that Nevada has lost at home in the last four seasons with Boise State turning in a 73-72 victory on March 10, 2005 in the opening round of the 2005 WAC Tournament in Reno.
IN THE RANKINGS
Nevada has been featured in the national top 25 in the majority of the preseason polls again this year and has climbed to 21st in the Associated Press poll and 15th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ rankings released on Jan. 1, while new rankings will be released on Monday afternoon. That No. 15 showing in the coaches’ poll marks the team’s highest ranking in school history. Nevada had previously climbed as high as 17th in the Dec. 5, 2005 AP poll last season.
The Wolf Pack appeared at 24th in the preseason Associated Press poll, released on Nov. 6, and checked in at 25th in the first ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ poll, released on Oct. 27. That marks the second consecutive season Nevada has been ranked in the preseason by both of the major polls after checking in at 22nd (AP) and 25th (coaches) prior to the 2005-06 season.
The Wolf Pack spent 11 weeks ranked in one of the two major national polls in 2005-06, climbing as high as 17th in the AP poll on Dec. 5 and as high as 21st in the coaches’ rankings four times during the year. The team ended up ranked 20th in the final Associated Press poll of the year.
In addition, Nevada has been picked to win the WAC and featured in the top 25 in the majority of the other preseason publications, including Lindy’s (19th), Street & Smith’s (20th), Sporting News (23rd), Collegehoopsnet.com (23rd) and CBS SportsLine (23rd).
With a 13-1 record to open the season, Nevada has joined just one other team in school history in winning at least 13 of its first 14 games. The Wolf Pack is off to its best start in 55 years and joins just the 1951-52 squad in winning at least 13 of its first 14 games. The 1951-52 team turned in the best start in school history, winning its first 14 games of the year. After its 14 straight victories, that team dropped its next two games and finished with a 19-3 overall record.
Nevada turned in a 7-0 record to start the 2006-07 season and opened the year with seven straight wins for just the second time in school history prior to its Dec. 9 loss to UNLV. With the team’s Nov. 18 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Nevada won its first three games for the third consecutive season. The Wolf Pack won its first three games in 2004-05, while last year, the team started the season with six consecutive victories and won 10 of its first 11 tilts. The Wolf Pack’s only loss in its first 11 games last year was a 67-56 defeat by NCAA runner-up UCLA in the Dec. 10 Wooden Classic in Anaheim, Calif. The 6-0 starts by this and last year’s squads also marked the first time in school history that Nevada has opened the year with six straight wins in back-to-back seasons.
WINNING AT LAWLOR
Including Saturday’s 81-55 victory over Idaho, Nevada has now won its last four home games and 16 of its last 17 games at Lawlor Events Center. With its loss to UNLV on Dec. 9, the Wolf Pack saw its 12-game home winning streak dating back to last year come to an end, marking the team’s first home defeat since a 59-53 loss to Utah State on Jan. 23, 2006. The Wolf Pack has turned in a 52-6 record at Lawlor Events Center since the start of the 2003-04 season (.897 winning percentage). In 2005-06, the Wolf Pack turned in a 17-1 record at Lawlor Events Center, setting the school record for home victories in a single season. That bested the 15 victories the team turned in during the 2003-04 season. The Wolf Pack also turned in the second-best home winning percentage in school history in 2005-06 (.944), second only to the perfect 15-0 record the team turned in during that 2003-04 campaign. The Wolf Pack has won 73.4 percent of its games at Lawlor Events Center since it opened in 1983-84 (254-92 all-time).
Nevada was listed as having the best home-court advantage in the WAC in this year’s Street & Smith’s Basketball Preview.
LAST TIME OUT
Junior Marcelus Kemp scored 22 points and senior Nick Fazekas added 19 points and 11 rebounds to lead Nevada to an 81-55 victory over Idaho on Saturday night in the Wolf Pack’s Western Athletic Conference opener.
Kemp made 8-of-13 from the field and Fazekas 7-of-8 for the Wolf Pack, who went on a 20-6 run late in the first half and shot 56.6 percent on the game en route to its sixth straight win.
Keoni Watson was the lone scorer in double figures with 19 for the Vandals, who were outrebounded 45-26 and shot only 31 percent from the field.
Nevada led 46-28 at the half and by as much as 32 - 80-48 on freshman JaVale McGee's slam dunk off a pass from sophomore Lyndale Burleson with four minutes remaining.
Fazekas added a game-high 11 rebounds for his 11th double-double of the season and 52nd of his career. Senior Kyle Shiloh, junior Ramon Sessions, junior David Ellis (career high for Ellis) and freshman Brandon Fields each scored seven points for the Wolf Pack.
Fazekas scored eight consecutive points for Nevada early in the second half - three in a row off rebounds - and Kemp sandwiched a pair of three-point plays around Ellis' hook shot for a 66-37 lead with 13:37 left in the game. The lead grew to 78-45 when Ellis converted a 3-point play then Burleson scored on a break off a pass from Shiloh at 6:56.
Kemp scored nine points in the first seven minutes of the game, including two three-pointers. Watson followed a three-point goal with a drive to the hoop to pull to 19-14 at 11:29.
But Nevada outscored the Vandals 20-6 over the next seven minutes - including consecutive three-pointers by senior Denis Ikovlev, Sessions, Shiloh and Fazekas - and went ahead 39-20 on Sessions' basket inside off an inbounds pass at 4:29.
Trevor Morris ended the Wolf Pack's 9-0 run with an 18-footer then Michael Crowell made a 3-pointer and Mitchell Johnson scored inside, was fouled and made the free throw to make it 43-28 but Kemp converted a three-point play of his own with 18 seconds on the clock to make it 46-28.
With Nevada’s Dec. 16 win over Pacific, seniors Nick Fazekas and Kyle Shiloh became the winningest players in school history and now have 90 career victories, passing Kevinn Pinkney (2002-05) for the distinction. Since starting their Wolf Pack careers in 2003-04, Fazekas and Shiloh have played on teams that have amassed a 90-23 mark, including the 25-7 NCAA squad in 2004-05 and a 27-6 NCAA team last season. Pinkney was a member of four squads that turned in an 85-43 record, including an NCAA Sweet Sixteen season in 2003-04 (25-9 record).
The 2005 and 2006 Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year, senior forward Nick Fazekas returns for his senior year poised to finish his career as one of the most decorated players in school history. He is the preseason favorite to win his third consecutive WAC Player-of-the-Year honor and could become just the second player in league history to be named the WAC Player of the Year three times in his career (Utah's Keith Van Horn is the other).
A preseason first-team All-American by Athlon and Street & Smith's and one of 50 players on the preseason watch lists for both John Wooden Award and the Naismith Trophy, Fazekas has moved into the top 10 in nearly every Nevada career statistical category. The honorable-mention 2006-07 preseason Associated Press All-American scored 20 points in a Nov. 18 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff to become Nevada’s all-time leading scorer. He broke Edgar Jones’ 27-year-old record (1,877 points, 1975-79) and now has 2,103 career points, which also ranks eighth on the WAC’s career scoring lists. Fazekas has already set Nevada's career record for blocked shots with 167, overtaking Jones who had 142 in his career. He has moved into first on the career list for field goals made with 769 and has also set the school record for free throws made with 464. With his five rebounds Dec. 12 vs. Saint Mary’s, he moved past Jones for second on the Nevada career rebounding list, while his 1,072 rebounds also rank eighth in the WAC career annals.
Fazekas has turned in double-doubles in 11 of the first 14 games of the 2006-07 season, including 24 points and 11 rebounds Dec. 22 at Akron and 18 points and 13 boards Dec. 28 against Maine. He just missed his 11th double-double of the year Dec. 30 vs. Gonzaga, turning in a game-high 24 points and nine rebounds despite fouling out with 5:15 to play, and had 19 points and 11 rebounds in just 20 minutes Saturday vs. Idaho. Fazekas scored 29 points and pulled down 10 rebounds in just 21 minutes in the season opener against Alaska-Anchorage and then 19 points and matched his career bests with 18 rebounds Nov. 15 at Oregon State. He pulled down 17 rebounds to go along with his 20 points in just 21 minutes vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff, added 29 points and 14 rebounds Nov. 21 vs. UC Irvine and had 28 points and 15 rebounds Nov. 25 at Santa Clara. He saw his season-opening streak of five double-doubles come to an end Nov. 29 at Louisiana-Lafayette but turned in a team-best 21 points in the win.
Currently, Fazekas is leading the WAC in scoring at 20.8 points per game just ahead of Utah State’s Jaycee Carroll (20.5 ppg). After leading the nation each previous week of the season, Fazekas dropped into second in the NCAA in rebounding (12.3 boards per game) this week and has the WAC’s second-best field goal percentage (58.9 percent, 116-197). In addition to ranking second in the nation in rebounding to Arkansas-Little Rock’s Rashad Jones-Jennings (12.7 rpg), Fazekas also ranks tied for 15th in scoring and 42nd in field goal percentage.
Fazekas turned in one of the finest seasons in school history in 2005-06. A third-team 2006 AP All-America selection, he led the WAC and ranked 16th in the nation in scoring with 21.8 points per game after pacing the conference with 20.7 points per game in 2004-05. With 721 points on the year, he also broke the school single-season scoring record, passing Ken Green’s 697 points in 1982-83. Fazekas finished first on the squad, second in the conference and 15th in the NCAA in rebounding with 10.4 boards per contest. He was one of 21 players in NCAA Division I basketball to average a double-double last year. He knocked down 52.9 percent of his field goal attempts (268-507), which was good for fourth in the WAC, and finished second in the league and 41st in the nation in free throw shooting at 84.6 percent (154-182). Fazekas added a team-best 49 blocked shots (third in the WAC at 1.48 per game).
In addition to winning the 2006 WAC Player of the Year Award and being named to the All-WAC first team, both for the second straight year, Fazekas was one of 22 finalists on the national ballot for the 2006 John R. Wooden Award and was a finalist for the Adolph Rupp Award. He was recognized on several All-America teams in addition to his AP honor and was named the 2006 United States Basketball Writers Association District VIII Player of the Year and earned National Association of Basketball Coaches All-District 13 first-team accolades.
FAZEKAS JOINS SOME ELITE COMPANY
With 19 points Dec. 12 vs. Saint Mary’s, Wolf Pack career-leading scorer Nick Fazekas has become the first player in school history and just the 12th player in the history of the Western Athletic Conference to score 2,000 points. His 17 rebounds Dec. 9 vs. UNLV made the senior forward the third player in school history and the 12th WAC student-athlete to reach the 1,000-rebound plateau. Fazekas is just the fifth player in the history of the conference to turn in both 2,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds, joining Utah’s Keith Van Horn, Arizona’s Bob Elliott, Rice’s Michael Harris and Utah’s Josh Grant on that prestigious list.
According to research done by Jon Teitel of collegehoopsnet.com, Fazekas has a chance to become just the sixth player all time to score 2,000 points, pull down 1,000 rebounds and shoot 50 percent from the field and 80 percent from the line. Accomplishing that feat will put Fazekas in some very elite company, which includes Rick Barry, Larry Bird, Bill Bradley, Christian Laettner and Keith Van Horn.
WOLF PACK SHOOTING THE BALL WELL
The Wolf Pack has shot the ball well from the field so far this year and turned in a season-high 59.6 percent shooting effort on Dec. 28 vs. Maine (34-57), including an impressive 64.0 percent showing in the second half (16-25). The team turned in its second-best showing of the season on Saturday, knocking down 56.6 percent of its shots vs. Idaho (30-53).
Nevada ranks among the national and WAC leaders in field goal, free throw and three-point percentage. The Wolf Pack leads the league and ranks seventh in the NCAA in three-point percentage (42.9 percent, 103-240). Nevada also ranks second in the WAC and 27th in the nation in free throw percentage (73.0 percent) and is second in the WAC and 29th in the country in field goal percentage (49.7 percent). Last year, Nevada shot 45.6 percent from the field and 36.0 percent from three-point land and made 71.4 percent of its attempts from the charity stripe.
Nevada has shot 50 percent or better in eight of its 14 games this year and has made at least seven three-pointers in all but four games so far this year. The Wolf Pack knocked down a season-high 11 treys Nov. 21 vs. UC Irvine (11-19) and turned in a season-best 71.4 effort from beyond the arc Dec. 12 vs. Saint Mary’s (10-14).
DISHING IT OUT
The Wolf Pack ranks second in the WAC and 41st in the NCAA in assists so far this season and has three players ranked in the top 10 in the league in the category. Nevada is averaging 16.71 assists per game and turned in a season-best 28 assists Dec. 28 against Maine.
With 61 assists so far this year, junior Ramon Sessions is ranked third in the WAC with 4.64 assists per game. Sessions turned in a season-high eight assists in the Dec. 16 win over Pacific. He had seven assists in the Nov. 21 victory over UC Irvine and matched that with seven (and no turnovers) Nov. 29 at Louisiana-Lafayette. Sessions has also dished out at least five assists in four other contests so far this year, including six on Dec. 28 vs. the Maine Black Bears. Senior Kyle Shiloh is second on the team and ninth in the league at 3.07 assists per game, while sophomore Lyndale Burleson ranks 10th in the WAC at 3.00 assists per contest and dished out a season-high tying six assists (with no turnovers) on Dec. 28 vs. Maine.
On the preseason watch list for the Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year Award, Sessions has moved into sixth place in the Nevada career record books with 384 assists in just 77 career games (5.0 assists per game). Sessions has led the team in assists in each of his seasons at Nevada, setting both the school’s freshman (166) and sophomore (153) marks for assists. Last year, he ranked second in the WAC with 4.9 assists per game.
Burleson and Sessions are also ranked in the top three in the WAC in assist-to-turnover ratio. Burleson is leading the WAC at 2.33 (42 assists with just 18 turnovers), while Sessions is third (2.32, 65-28). As a team, Nevada has the league’s best 1.16 assist-to-turnover ratio.
KEMP ON A ROLL
Marcelus Kemp is a great shooter who can get on a roll, and that is just what the junior guard has done so far this season. Kemp has made 45.1 percent of his three-point attempts this season (37-82), good for third in the WAC statistics, and is second in the league in three-point field goals made (2.64). He tied his career best with five three-pointers made in each of Nevada’s first two victories and made all four of his long-range attempts Dec. 12 vs. Saint Mary’s. He is second on the team and third in the WAC in scoring at 18.2 points per game and ranks eighth in the WAC in field goal percentage at 45.4 percent.
Kemp has led the team in scoring seven times this year, including 22 points Saturday vs. Idaho. With 906 career points, he needs just 94 more points to become the 18th player in school history to join the 1,000-point club.
Kemp turned in a season-high 29 points, including 5-of-6 three-pointers, Nov. 15 at Oregon State and has turned in seven games with at least 20 points on the year. He had 23 points on 9-of-18 shooting in the Nov. 21 victory over UC Irvine and scored 21 Dec. 28 vs. Gonzaga. He also led the team with 19 points Dec. 16 vs. Pacific, making 4-of-8 attempts from beyond the arc.
Last season, Kemp finished second on the team and 11th in the WAC with 15.0 points per contest. He led the team with 52 treys made and shot 35.9 percent from beyond the arc.
So far this season, Nevada is holding its opponents to just 63.5 points and 29.1 rebounds per game, including a season-low 45 points and 24 rebounds Nov. 15 by Oregon State. That marked the fewest points since the Wolf Pack held Idaho to just 44 in a 70-44 victory on Jan. 12, 2006, while Nevada has won 45 of its last 47 games when holding its opponent to 60 points or less, including a 13-1 record last season and a 4-1 mark this year (most recently an 81-55 win over Idaho on Jan. 6).
Nevada ranks second in the league in scoring and rebounding defense this year. The squad is also allowing teams to shoot just 39.3 percent from the field and 30.1 percent from three-point land, marks which also both rank second in the WAC. Nevada is also ranked 51st in the nation in field goal percentage defense. Oregon State made just 29.0 percent of its attempts and 14.3 percent of its three-point attempts on Nov. 15, while Santa Clara knocked down just 14.3 percent of its attempts from beyond the arc (2-14) on Nov. 25.
The Wolf Pack led the WAC in field goal percentage defense and three-point field goal percentage defense, ranked second in scoring defense and ended up third in rebounding defense in 2005-06. Nevada held teams to just 63.7 points per game, including a season-low 44 Jan. 12 by Idaho, and 34.1 rebounds per contest. The Wolf Pack allowed teams to shoot just 30.4 percent from beyond the arc and 40.1 percent from the field. The team also ranked 28th in the nation in field goal percentage defense. Nevada held 20 of its 33 opponents under 40 percent from the field in 2005-06, including a season-low 29.6 percent Jan. 12 by Idaho.
Including a 4-0 record this year, Nevada has won its last nine regular-season road games. The team downed Oregon State 75-47 on Nov. 15 in Corvallis, Ore., edged Santa Clara 78-70 on Nov. 25, snapping an eight-game losing streak in the Broncos’ home gym, beat Louisiana-Lafyette 86-74 Nov. 29 in the Cajundome. Most recently, the Wolf Pack snapped Akron’s 21-game home winning streak, then the fourth-longest streak in the nation, with a 73-71 victory on Dec. 22 in Akron, Ohio. Nevada has also won both of its first neutral-site games this season, downing California 77-71 on Dec. 3 in the Pete Newell Challenge and Gonzaga 82-74 on Dec. 30 in the Battle in Seattle.
The Wolf Pack has tallied a 25-5 record in road contests in the last three seasons (since the start of the 2004-05 season), including a 10-3 record on the road last season (6-2 WAC mark). The Dec. 3 contest against Cal in the Pete Newell Challenge ended a stretch of four of seven games away from Lawlor Events Center to start the year. That stretch included road games at Oregon State (Nov. 15), Santa Clara (Nov. 25) and Louisiana-Lafayette (Nov. 29) and the neutral-site contest vs. California.
Last year, Nevada opened the year with five of its first six games away from the friendly confines of the Lawlor Events Center (four road wins and a loss on a neutral floor vs. NCAA runner-up UCLA) and saw streaks of 14 straight road wins and 10 consecutive WAC road victories, which dated back to the 2004-05 season, come to an end.
NEWS AND NOTES
- Junior Marcelus Kemp has turned in three straight contests with at least 20 points and a total of seven this season, including a game-high 22 points Saturday vs. Idaho.
- Nevada has averaged 84.0 points per game in its last three contests, up from a season average of 76.9 points per game. The team scored a season-high 89 points in its Dec. 28 over Maine, besting the previous high of 86 Nov. 29 at Louisiana-Lafayette. Nevada put 82 points on the board in the Dec. 30 win over Gonzaga and poured in 81 Saturday vs. Idaho. The Wolf Pack is averaging 76.9 points per game and is outscoring its opponents by a WAC-best average of 13.4 points per game this year. The team also ranks second in the WAC in scoring offense.
- Junior David Ellis turned in a career-best seven points Saturday vs. Idaho, while freshmen Matt LaGrone (eight boards) and JaVale McGee (six) pulled down career highs in rebounding vs. the Vandals. McGee also blocked a career-high four shots in Saturday’s victory.
- Over the last four-plus seasons, Nevada has turned in a 109-37 overall mark (.747), which is the most wins and is the second-best winning percentage of any WAC team during that time (second only to Utah State’s 104-34 record, .753). In conference games, the Wolf Pack has won 54 games, which is the most among league schools in that same time period. The next closest team is Fresno State, which has won 42 league contests.
- After averaging 4.7 points per game last season, junior Ramon Sessions is turning in an average of 12.7 points per contest this year, which ranks 13th in the WAC. He scored all 20 of his points in the second half in the Dec. 30 win over Gonzaga and turned in a season-high 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting Dec. 22 at Akron. Dec. 9 vs. UNLV, he tied with senior Nick Fazekas for the team scoring lead, scoring all 16 of his points in the second half. Sessions is also shooting 53.3 percent from the field and 52.9 percent from three-point land (8-16) this season after turning in a 35.9 percent effort from the field and not making any treys one year ago (0-3).
- Nevada has held its last seven opponents to just 62.6 points per game (438 points) and 37.7 percent shooting (156-414). The team's last six opponents have also shot just 30.0 percent from three-point land (37-123). The Wolf Pack held Pacific to just 53 points on Dec. 16, the second-lowest total by a Wolf Pack opponent this year.
- Sessions is third in the WAC in free throw percentage, knocking down 84.6 percent of his attempts from the charity stripe this season (55-65), including his last 10 attempts (2-2 vs. Maine, 6-6 vs. Gonzaga, 2-2 vs. Idaho). He shot just 56.8 percent from the free throw line last year (25-44). Senior Nick Fazekas ranks second in the WAC at 86.8 percent (46-53).
- Nevada is outrebounding its opponents by a WAC-best average of 9.0 boards per contest, including a 54-24 advantage over Oregon State on Nov. 15 and a 45-26 edge Saturday vs. Idaho. Nevada also ranks 16th in the NCAA in rebounding margin. Led by the nation’s No. 2 rebounder, senior Nick Fazekas (12.3 rpg), Nevada ranks in the top five in the WAC in all five rebounding categories so far this season: offense (3rd-38.1 rpg), defense (2nd-29.1), margin (1st-9.0), offensive (5th-11.29) and defensive rebounds (3rd-26.86).
- The Wolf Pack has won 27 of its last 29 contests, dating back to an 82-79 victory at Boise State on Jan. 26, 2006. The team has lost back-to-back games just five times since the start of 2003-04 season.
- The Wolf Pack got 27 points off the bench Dec. 28 vs. Maine with three players turning in career bests. True freshmen Brandon Fields and Tyrone Hanson set career highs with eight points apiece, while junior David Ellis tied his career best(since broken) with six points in the victory. Fields made all four of his field goal attempts, while Hanson also knocked down a career-high two three-pointers.
- The Wolf Pack’s 2006-07 schedule features 16 home games and contests with four schools that received NCAA Tournament bids one year ago (Cal, Pacific, Gonzaga and Utah State). The team will play in three special events this year: the Dec. 3 Pete Newell Challenge vs. California, the Battle in Seattle vs. Gonzaga on Dec. 30 and the ESPN BracketBusters on Feb. 17.
- Senior Kyle Shiloh ranks ninth on the Wolf Pack career list with 109 career steals. He is leading the team and ranks fourth in the WAC with an average of 1.57 steals per game this year. He had a season-best four steals in the season opener vs. Alaska-Anchorage and matched that Nov. 18 vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff and again Saturday vs. Idaho.
- Senior Nick Fazekas and freshman JaVale McGee are both ranked in the top 10 in the WAC in blocked shots. Nevada’s career leader in the category with 167, Fazekas is third in the WAC at 1.64 blocks per game. He tied his career best with four blocks on Dec. 12 vs. Saint Mary’s. McGee is eighth in the league at 1.21 swat per game with a career-best four Saturday vs. Idaho.
- Third-year head coach Mark Fox won his 60th career game on Dec. 12 vs. Saint Mary’s. Fox is the first coach in school history to lead his squad to back-to-back 20-win seasons and holds a 65-14 career record in his three seasons at the helm of the Wolf Pack program (.823). Fox has been named the Don Haskins WAC Coach of the Year in each of his first two seasons as Nevada’s head coach.
- Senior Denis Ikovlev turned in career bests for scoring and rebounding with 10 points and eight rebounds in the Dec. 12 victory over Saint Mary’s. He also matched his career best with a pair of three-pointers made in the victory. Ikovlev has started each of the first 14 games of this year (his first career starts) and is averaging 5.8 points and 3.9 rebounds per contest (up from averages of 1.8 points and 1.0 rebounds per game last year). He turned in a then career-best nine points and five rebounds Nov. 10 against Alaska-Anchorage, while Nov. 29 vs. Louisiana-Lafayette, he matched that with nine points and pulled down a team-high seven rebounds. Ikovlev has also made a three-pointer in 11 of the first 14 games this year.
- Five Nevada players made their Wolf Pack regular-season collegiate debuts in the team’s Nov. 10 season opener vs. Alaska-Anchorage, including true freshmen Brandon Fields, Tyrone Hanson, Matt LaGrone and JaVale McGee and redshirt freshman Richie Phillips.
- 2005-06 marked the third straight year that the Wolf Pack took on the eventual national champion or runner-up at some point during the year (UCLA in the Wooden Classic). In 2003-04, the team faced eventual NCAA champion UConn during the regular season and fell to national runner-up Georgia Tech in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen, while in 2004-05, Nevada fell to NCAA runner-up Illinois in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Following Monday’s game with Boise State, Nevada will hit the road for a pair of conference games, traveling to San Jose State on Thursday, Jan. 11 and to Hawai’i on Saturday, Jan. 13. The team returns to Lawlor Events Center on Jan. 18 to take on Fresno State.