SAN JOSE STATE SPARTANS (10-11, 2-6 WAC) vs. NEVADA WOLF PACK (13-8, 5-3 WAC)
GAME NO. 22
Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008 - 7:05 p.m. PT - Lawlor Events Center (11,536) - Reno, Nev.
TELEVISION: Live video streaming at www.nevadawolfpack.com (subscription basis)
RADIO: Wolf Pack Sports Network (ESPN Radio 630 AM, Reno)
Dan Gustin (play-by-play) & Don Marchand (color analyst)
Pregame, 6:35 p.m. PT
SERIES HISTORY: San Jose State leads the all-time series 47-40.
LAST MEETING: San Jose State won the last meeting between the two teams, snapping Nevada’s 10-game winning streak in the series with a 62-60 victory on Jan. 10 in San Jose, Calif.
Following a 77-63 loss Saturday at Utah State, the four-time defending Western Athletic Conference champion Nevada Wolf Pack (13-8, 5-3 WAC) returns to Lawlor Events Center for a pair of home games this week. Winners of 11 of its last 15 games and three of its last four, the Wolf Pack plays host to the San Jose State Spartans at 7:05 p.m. Thursday night at Lawlor. Fifth in the WAC standings with a 5-3 mark, Nevada begins a stretch of five games in 10 days with Thursday’s contest against the Spartans. The first three games of that stretch will be played in the friendly confines of Lawlor Events Center, where the team has won 15 of its last 16 WAC games. Following Thursday’s game with San Jose State, Nevada plays host to Hawai’i on Saturday, Feb. 9 and Utah State on Monday, Feb. 11 before returning to the road with trips to Idaho and Boise State the following week.
Under the direction of fourth-year head coach Mark Fox, the Wolf Pack returned one starter and a total of eight letterwinners from last year’s school-record 29-5 team, including 2007 first-team All-WAC selection Marcelus Kemp. This year’s team also features four new faces (one redshirt freshman, a sophomore transfer and a pair of true freshmen). Last season, Nevada set the school single-season record for victories with 29, turned in its fourth consecutive year with at least 25 wins, won its fourth straight WAC regular-season title and earned the team’s fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.
GO RED FOR WOMEN
Nevada will “Go Red for Women” on Thursday night when the Wolf Pack takes on Hawai’i. Red is a color the University of Nevada usually avoids, but on Thursday, the school will celebrate the color to promote the American Heart Association’s “Go Red for Women” campaign.
Nevada’s coaches will wear the “Go Red” lapel pin, and the game’s ticket takers and scorer’s table personnel will wear red T-shirts in an effort to raise awareness about women and heart disease, which is the No. 1 killer of U.S. women. For more information about the “Go Red for Women” campaign, visit the American Heart Association’s web site at www.heart.org.
NEVADA TOP WAC TEAM OVER LAST FOUR YEARS
Over the last four-plus seasons dating back to 2003-04, Nevada has turned in a 119-35 record, the best record of any WAC team during that time (.773 winning percentage). In conference games, Nevada has won 61 games, the most in that same time period.
WINNING AT LAWLOR
The Wolf Pack has won 32 of its last 35 contests at Lawlor Events Center, including seven of its last eight home games. With its 15-1 home record last year and an 8-2 mark this season, the Wolf Pack has turned in a 68-8 record at Lawlor Events Center since the start of the 2003-04 season (.895 winning percentage). Nevada’s loss to California on Nov. 28 snapped the team’s 13-game home winning streak. The streak had been the longest active home winning streak in the WAC and the 12th-longest in the nation. Prior to the Cal loss, had not dropped a home contest since falling to UNLV on Dec. 9, 2006.
Nevada has now won 15 of its last 16 WAC home games. A Jan. 19 loss to Boise State snapped the Wolf Pack’s 14-game winning streak in WAC home games, including a perfect 8-0 mark one year ago and a 2-0 mark to start this season (now 2-1). That 14-game win streak had dated back to January of 2006, while counting Nevada’s three wins in the 2006 WAC Tournament, the team had won its last 17 games against WAC opponents in the friendly confines of Lawlor Events Center prior to the loss to the Broncos.
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 74.3 percent of its games at Lawlor Events Center since it opened in 1983-84 (269-93 all-time).
ABOUT THE SAN JOSE STATE SPARTANS
San Jose State has turned in a 10-11 record so far this season and is seventh in the WAC standings with a 2-6 mark. The Spartans have lost their last three WAC games, including a narrow 83-81 loss to New Mexico State on Feb. 2. Under the direction of third-year head coach George Nessman (21-61 record at SJSU), San Jose State returned two starters and six letterwinners from last year’s 5-25 team. The Spartans finished in eighth place in the WAC last year with a 4-12 league mark.
Freshman guard Justin Graham (6-4, 195) is leading five Spartans in double figures for scoring at 12.2 points per game but has been sidelined since suffering an elbow injury Jan. 14 vs. Hawai’i. Junior guard DaShawn Wright (6-4, 200), a transfer from Marshalltown (Iowa) College, is adding 10.8 points per game, while junior forward and Arizona State transfer Tim Pierce (6-7, 210) also chips in with 10.8 points per contest and has made a team-high 45 three-pointers (seventh in the WAC with 2.14 treys per game). Sophomore forward and Pepperdine transfer Chris Oakes (6-9, 225) is the club’s top rebounder, pulling down 7.1 rebounds per game.
IN THE SERIES
San Jose State leads the all-time series with Nevada 47-40, while the Wolf Pack has gotten the best of the series recently, winning 10 of the last 11 meetings between the two teams. The Spartans took this year’s first meeting, snapping a 10-game Wolf Pack winning streak in the series with a 62-60 victory on Jan. 10 in San Jose, Calif. Nevada swept the series last season, turning in a 72-63 win on Jan. 11, 2007 in San Jose and a 68-60 victory on Feb. 14, 2007 in Reno. The Wolf Pack has also won the last five games played in Reno.
LAST TIME AGAINST SAN JOSE STATE
C.J. Webster deflected a shot by Nevada sophomore Brandon Fields underneath the basket with two seconds remaining and San Jose State snapped a 10-game losing streak to the Wolf Pack with a 62-60 win on Jan. 10 in San Jose, Calif.
Webster finished with 17 points and seven rebounds, while Chris Oakes added 12 and eight for the Spartans.
San Jose State led 61-56 with just over a minute remaining when sophomore JaVale McGee made a short jumper and senior Marcelus Kemp scored on a driving lay-up to pull Nevada within one with 14 seconds left to play. Justin Graham was fouled on the Spartans' next possession but missed his second of two free throws, giving the Wolf Pack a final chance.
Kemp put up a 3-pointer, and Fields grabbed the air ball and tried to go back up, but Webster got his hand up to deflect the shot and preserve the win for San Jose State.
Freshman Armon Johnson had 16 points and seven rebounds to lead Nevada. The Wolf Pack led by as many as 11 in the first half but couldn't hold on against the Spartans.
After San Jose State took a 40-37 lead on four free throws following a technical foul with 13:21 remaining, junior Lyndale Burleson's 3-pointer tied the game before Johnson's lay-up gave Nevada a 42-40 lead. Johnson added six more over the next 4:30, including a pair of free throws to make it 54-49. The Spartans responded with a 12-2 run to take the lead for good.
Nevada led 22-11 midway through the first half, but San Jose State went on a 15-4 run over the final 9:24 to tie the game at the break.
LAST TIME OUT
Jaycee Carroll scored 24 points and Gary Wilkinson added a career-high 23 to lead Utah State past Nevada 77-63 Saturday night.
Tai Wesley also scored 14, while Wilkinson pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds for the Aggies. The Wolf Pack was led by senior Marcelus Kemp with 16 points and sophomore JaVale McGee who scored 15 and nabbed a game-high 12 rebounds. Sophomore Brandon Fields added 13 points.
After trailing by double digits most of the first half, the Wolf Pack brought the score to 49-41 with 16:45 to play on a Kemp free throw. But the Aggies answered behind inside play from Wilkinson and two 3-point shots from reserve guard Tyler Newbold and stretched the lead to 17 points, 71-54, with four minutes to play.
In the first half, USU burst out to a 13-2 lead, behind an 11-0 run and eight points from Wilkinson. Carroll dropped in 17 points and shot 6-for-11 from the field in the half, as the Aggies held a 47-36 edge at halftime.
USU shot 68 percent from the field in the first half, while Nevada shot 43 percent, 39 percent for the game.
KEMP PACING TEAM IN SCORING
A preseason candidate for the Wooden Award and the Naismith Trophy, senior guard Marcelus Kemp is leading the team and ranked second in the WAC in scoring at 19.2 points per game (47th in the NCAA). He has turned in at least 20 points in eight of the last 17 games, including a season-high 29 Jan. 12 at Hawai’i and 28 Jan. 31 vs. Fresno State. He also had 19 points in two other games in that stretch. After leading the team in scoring in 17 games last season, including five of the final six, the sixth-year senior has paced the Wolf Pack in scoring in 13 of 21 games this season, including 11 of the last 17. He turned in a team-high 26 points with a season-best four three-pointers Nov. 28 vs. California and notched his second career double-double with a game-best 20 points and a career-high-tying 12 rebounds Dec. 1 at Pacific. He also turned in 28 points in a Dec. 19 win over Colorado State (22 in the second half).
Kemp holds the team lead and ranks 10th in the WAC with 40 three-pointers made this year (1.90 per game). With four three-pointers Jan. 19 vs. the Broncos, he moved into sole possession of second place on the Nevada career list and now has 197 three-pointers made. He stands just 12 three-pointers behind Nevada’s career leader in the category, Terrance Green (209 treys, 1999-2003).
With his 16 points Feb. 2 at Utah State, Kemp turned in his 31st consecutive game in double figures for scoring (all 21 this year) and the 83rd of his career. Dating back to the latter part of the 2005-06 season, Kemp’s sophomore year, he has scored in double figures in 62 of the last 64 games. With 1,683 career points, he has moved into fourth place on the Nevada career scoring list. With 28 points on Jan. 31 vs. Fresno State, he moved past both Pete Padgett (1,642 points, 1972-76) and Terrance Green (1,646 points, 1999-03) on the all-time scoring list and now needs 48 points to catch Alex Boyd (1,731 points, 1967-70) for third place on the list.
DEALING WITH REJECTION
Sophomore JaVale McGee and the Wolf Pack continue to lead the WAC in blocked shots per game. McGee is averaging a league-best 2.86 blocks per game, 1.44 blocks per game ahead of New Mexico State’s Martin Iti (1.42), and is 11th in the NCAA in the category. He swatted a career-best seven shots Dec. 22 at Northern Iowa and has blocked six in two other games this season (Nov. 18 vs. Cal and Nov. 11 at UCF). He added five blocks Dec. 12 vs. San Diego and has had four in four of the last 10 games (North Carolina, Cal State Stanislaus, Idaho, NMSU). McGee has blocked at least one shot in 19 of 21 games this season (15 with two or more). With 90 career blocks in just 55 games (1.64 per game), McGee has already climbed into sixth on the Nevada career list, moving past Kevinn Pinkney (2001-05, 89 in 110 games) for that spot. McGee has also already moved into second on the Nevada single-season list with 60 and has broken Nick Fazekas’ mark for the single-season mark by a Wolf Pack sophomore (51 in 2004-05). Last season, McGee ranked second on the team and ninth in the WAC with 0.9 blocked shots per game. He finished with 30 blocks on the year and had swatted a previous career best with four vs. Idaho on Jan. 6, 2007.
As a team, Nevada paces the conference and ranks 10th in the nation with an average of 6.19 blocks per game, including a season-best 11 in its Jan. 17 win over Idaho and 10 in the Dec. 19 win over Colorado State. Senior Demarshay Johnson is second on the team and fourth in the league in the category with 1.19 blocks per game, including a career-high six swats in the Dec. 19 victory over Colorado State.
LIGHTING IT UP
Nevada scored a season-high 104 points in its Dec. 31 victory over Cal State Stanislaus and has turned in 10 of its highest scoring outputs of the year in its last 15 games. That win over the Warriors also marked the first time that the team has topped the century mark since turning in a 101-76 win over Rice on Jan. 24, 2004 in Reno. On Jan. 24 at New Mexico State, the Wolf Pack scored 87 points, its second-highest scoring output of the year, while its 83-70 win Jan. 26 at Louisiana Tech was the team’s sixth 80-point effort of the season.
After averaging 67.5 points in the first six contests of the year, the Wolf Pack has averaged 76.3 points per game in its last 15 (1145 points), including 87 points Jan. 24 at NMSU and 86 points in its Dec. 16 win vs. UCF. Nevada has now moved into third place in the WAC statistics in scoring at 73.8 points per game.
FINDING THEIR TOUCH
Nevada has shot the ball well recently, making 48.1 percent of its attempts from the field in its last 15 outings (405-842). The team has turned in eight 50-percent shooting efforts this season, including three of the last four games, and holds an 8-0 mark in those contests, most recently knocking down 50.9 percent of its attempts Jan. 31 vs. Fresno State (29-57), a season-high 61.2 percent of its attempts Jan. 26 at Louisiana Tech (30-49), 56.4 percent Jan. 26 at New Mexico State (31-55). Nevada has also turned in its two best three-point nights of the year recently, including a season-high 61.5 percent Jan. 31 vs. the Bulldogs (8-13) and 53.3 percent of its attempts (8-15) Jan. 24 at New Mexico State. Prior to the last 15 games, Nevada had shot just 37.2 percent from the field in its previous two, while the team now ranks fourth in the league in field goal percentage this season (47.2 percent).
After leading the WAC and ranking 10th in the nation in three-point shooting at 40.6 percent last year, the Wolf Pack struggled to find its touch from beyond the arc early this season. However, Nevada has now moved into fourth in the WAC at 34.8 percent from three-point land this season (117-336). The Wolf Pack knocked down a season-best nine three-pointers Jan. 19 vs. Boise State and had eight Nov. 28 vs. Cal and again at NMSU. The team has made at least seven three-pointers in nine games this year (Pacific, Montana State, San Diego, UCF, Hawai’i and Fresno State are the others).
SPREADING IT AROUND
Four members of the Wolf Pack are averaging in doubles figures for scoring this year, led by senior guard Marcelus Kemp who ranks second in the WAC and 47th in the nation at 19.2 points per game. Kemp has led the team in scoring in 13 of 21 games this year, including 11 of the last 17. Sophomore JaVale McGee is second on the team and 13th in the WAC with 12.9 points per game, while sophomore Brandon Fields (15th in the WAC) and freshman Armon Johnson trail just behind at 12.5 and 12.1 points per contest, respectively. McGee scored a career-high 20 Nov. 19 at UC Irvine, while Fields turned in a career-best 22 Dec. 16 vs. UCF. Johnson has matched his career high with 23 points twice (Dec. 27 at then top-ranked North Carolina and Jan. 17 vs. Idaho).
Nevada saw all five of its starters score in double figures for the first time this year on Dec. 12 vs. the Toreros, while it had five players in double figures again Dec. 31 vs. Cal State Stanislaus. The team has seen at least four players in double figures in a total of 10 games this year (UC Irvine, Montana State, UCF, Hawai’i, Idaho, Boise State, NMSU, La Tech and Utah State).
Nevada got a season-high 35 points from its bench in its Dec. 31 win over Cal State Stanislaus, including a season-best 19 points from senior Demarshay Johnson. The Wolf Pack bench added 24 in the Dec. 8 win over Montana State, including a season-high seven by senior David Ellis and five from sophomore Ray Kraemer, the first points of Kraemer’s Wolf Pack career. Dec. 12 against San Diego, sophomore Matt LaGrone tallied a career-best 12 points, while true freshman Malik Cooke added a career-high seven, including his first career three-pointer. On Jan. 26 at Louisiana Tech, senior David Ellis scored a career-best 14 points on 7-of-7 shooting to lead the team and pace a 31-point effort from the Wolf Pack bench.
FIELDS FROM DOWNTOWN
The Dec. 17 WAC Player of the Week, sophomore Brandon Fields is leading the team and ranked ninth in the WAC in three-point percentage at 40.2 percent (37-92). He is second on the team with 37 three-pointers made this year, three behind senior Marcelus Kemp. Fields has knocked down at least one three-pointer in 17 of 21 games this year (10 with two or more). He made just three three-pointers and shot just 27.3 percent from beyond the arc all of last season (3-11).
Fields turned in career highs for scoring in back-to-back games against San Diego on Dec. 12 and UCF on Dec. 16, including 17 points in the win over the Toreros and a career-best 22 in the victory over the Knights, while Jan. 24 at New Mexico State, he missed his career high by just one point, leading the team with 21 points. Fields notched career highs for three-pointers made in back-to-back games against Cal and Pacific. He made a then career-best 3-of-6 treys Nov. 28 vs. Cal and then bested that mark Dec. 1 at Pacific, knocking down a career-high four three-pointers (4-of-8). He knocked down another trio of three-pointers Dec. 12 vs. San Diego and has matched his career high with four three-pointers in two other games (Dec. 16 vs. UCF and Jan. 19 vs. Boise State). He added another 17 points Jan. 31 vs. Fresno State.
Nevada has seen three different players turn in its seven double-doubles this season, led by sophomore JaVale McGee who has five. Most recently, McGee turned in 15 points and a game-high 12 rebounds Feb. 2 at Utah State. He also had 10 points and 12 rebounds Jan. 12 at Hawai’i., 18 points and 11 rebounds Dec. 31 against Cal State Stanislaus and 15 points and a career-best 18 rebounds Dec. 16 vs. UCF. He nabbed his first career double-double Nov. 24 at UNLV, matching his career best with 20 points and pulling down a then career-high 13 rebounds. McGee has just missed two other double-doubles with 19 points and nine rebounds Nov. 28 vs. Cal and 11 points and nine rebounds Dec. 19 vs. Colorado State. Senior Marcelus Kemp tallied his second career double-double with 20 points and a career-high-tying 12 rebounds Dec. 1 at Pacific, while senior Demarshay Johnson turned in his first career double-double with 12 points and a career-high 11 boards Nov. 13 at UC Irvine.
NEVADA TO TAKE ON SOUTHERN ILLINOIS IN BRACKETBUSTERS
Nevada will travel to Carbondale, Ill., to take on Southern Illinois on Saturday, Feb. 23 in the O’Reilly ESPNU BracketBusters. The game time and network televising the Wolf Pack’s game with the Salukis will be announced on Monday, Feb. 11.
ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN360 and ESPN Classic will combine to televise the 14-game, 28-team event on Feb. 22-24.
This year will mark Nevada’s fifth appearance in the sixth annual BracketBusters, an event which was created in 2003 in conjunction with the Western Athletic Conference, ESPN and several other top college basketball conferences to match potential NCAA Tournament hopefuls against each other. This year will mark second consecutive year that Nevada will take on an opponent from the Missouri Valley Conference and the first time in five appearances that the Wolf Pack is a road team in the event. Last season, Nevada turned in a 79-64 victory over Northern Iowa on Feb. 17, 2007 in Reno.
As part of the BracketBusters agreement, Southern Illinois will play at Nevada in 2008-09.
The WAC will have three teams competing in this year’s O’Reilly ESPNU BracketBusters with all three games set for Saturday, Feb. 23. In addition to Nevada’s game at Southern Illinois, Utah State will play host to UC Santa Barbara and Boise State will take on Siena. The other six WAC teams not selected to compete in the O’Reilly ESPNU BracketBusters will play non-conference opponents on that weekend.
UTAH STATE GAME RESCHEDULED FOR MONDAY, FEB. 11
Nevada has rescheduled its game with Utah State University for Monday, Feb. 11.
The game, which was originally scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 5, was postponed due to high winds and snowfall in the Reno area over the weekend. The Utah State men's basketball team was unable to travel to Reno the day prior to the game due to the weather conditions. Tip-off for the Feb. 11 game is set for 7:05 p.m. at Lawlor Events Center in Reno.
The Wolf Pack will play three games that week, taking on the Aggies on Monday evening and traveling to Boise State on Thursday, Feb. 14 and to Idaho on Saturday, Feb. 16.
Fans who already purchased tickets for the Utah State game should use their existing tickets for the rescheduled game. Fans with questions should call or visit the Wolf Pack Ticket Office at Legacy Hall at 775-348-PACK (7225).
PACK NEWS & NOTES
- The Wolf Pack shot just 39.0 percent from the field (23-59) in Saturday’s loss at Utah State after making 55.9 percent of its attempts in the previous three games (all three wins). The team ranks fourth in the WAC in field goal percentage, shooting 47.2 percent.
- The league leader in field goal percentage defense at 42.6 percent, Nevada allowed Utah State to shoot 54.0 percent from the field (66.7 percent in the first half).
- The WAC leader in blocked shots, Nevada matched its season low with just two blocks in the Utah State game (both by senior Demarshay Johnson), while sophomore JaVale McGee, also the league individual leader in the category, was not credited with a block for just the second time this season.
- Nevada has topped the 80-point mark in three of its last five games and is 6-1 this year when scoring 80 or more points. Nevada just missed 80 points with 79 scored Jan. 31 against the Bulldogs.
- True freshman Armon Johnson has scored at least 20 points in three of the last six games and has turned in four 20-point contests this season. He matched his career best with 23 points Jan. 17 vs. Idaho and turned in 20 points Jan. 19 vs. Boise State and Jan. 24 at New Mexico State. Johnson has turned in 14.8 points per game over the last 10 contests (148 points), up from his season average of 12.1 ppg.
- Johnson also matched his career high with six assists Jan. 31 vs. Fresno State. He turned in just one turnover in the game. That marked the third time this year that he has turned in six assists. Johnson is leading the team and ranked eighth in the WAC with 3.19 assists per game.
- Sophomore Brandon Fields led the team with 21 points Jan. 24 at New Mexico State, marking just the second time this season that he has led the team in scoring. He also paced the team with 17 points in the Dec. 12 victory over San Diego.
- Fields is averaging 12.5 points per game this season, up from 2.1 points per game last season (+10.4), while fellow sophomore JaVale McGee is averaging 12.9 points per contest, up from 3.4 ppg last season (+9.5).
- Nevada’s Jan. 17 victory over Idaho gave fourth-year head coach Mark Fox the 91st win of his career and moved him into a tie for fourth place on the team’s all-time wins list with Len Stevens (91-79 from 1987-93), while his 92nd win Jan. 24 at New Mexico State gave him sole possesion of fourth place on that list. Fox now holds a 94-26 record (.783 winning percentage) since becoming Nevada's head coach in 2004-05.
- Nevada has faced six first-year head coaches this season and has turned in a 6-0 mark, downing Santa Clara (Kerry Keating), San Diego (Bill Grier), Colorado State (Tim Miles), Hawai’i (Bob Nash), New Mexico State (Marvin Menzies) and Louisiana Tech (Kerry Rupp).
- The Wolf Pack ranks fifth in the WAC in free throw percentage at 70.7 percent and shot a season-high 85.7 percent from the charity stripe Jan. 12 at Hawai’i (18-21). Senior Marcelus Kemp is third in the WAC and 31st in the NCAA at 86.7 percent, including 11-of-13 in Nevada’s Dec. 19 win over Colorado State and 8-of-8 Jan. 12 at Hawai’i, while true freshman Armon Johnson ranks 10th in the WAC at 76.9 percent, including 10-of-12 Jan. 17 vs. Idaho. Nevada has turned in six 80-percent efforts from the free throw line this season.
- Kemp missed a free throw in the first half Jan. 17 against Idaho, ending a stretch of 22 consecutive made free throw attempts, dating back to the second half of the Dec. 22 game at Northern Iowa. Kemp has now converted on 46 of his last 49 free throw attempts. He has made all of his attempts in six of the last nine games, including 4-of-4 Dec. 27 at top-ranked North Carolina, 6-of-6 Dec. 31 vs. Cal State Stanislaus, 8-of-8 Jan. 12 at Hawai’i, 4-of-4 at New Mexico State and at La Tech and 5-of-5 Jan. 31 vs. Fresno State (he did not attempt any free throws at San Jose State). He has been perfect from the line in 11 games this year.
- Including its 37-25 advantage over Louisiana Tech on Jan. 26, the Wolf Pack has outrebounded 10 of its 20 opponents this season (9-1 record in those games) and tied one other. Nevada has climbed to second in the WAC in rebounding offense (37.1 rpg) and third in rebounding margin (+3.5) this year. The team pulled down a season-high 57 rebounds and turned in its season best for rebounding margin (+31) Dec. 31 vs. Cal State Stanislaus, outrebounding the Warriors 57-26. Last season, Nevada beat its opponents on the boards in 27 of 34 games (24-3 record) and led the league in rebounding margin (+6.5). Nevada is 3-7 this year when getting outrebounded.
- After averaging 8.2 rebounds per game in the last 13 games (106 rebounds), sophomore JaVale McGee has jumped from ninth to the top of the WAC with 7.8 rebounds per contest. After leading the WAC for several weeks, he now checks in tied for second. McGee pulled down a career-best 18 rebounds Dec. 16 vs. UCF, which marked the most for the Pack since Nick Fazekas had 18 rebounds in Nevada’s Jan. 27, 2007 win over Utah State. McGee has led the team in rebounding in 14 games this season, including 10 of the last 14. Most recently, he led the team with a game-high 12 rebounds Feb. 2 at Utah State. Senior Marcelus Kemp is second on the team at 5.6 rebounds per game.
- The Wolf Pack defense held Northern Iowa to a season-low 52 points in its Dec. 22 victory, season lows both for a Wolf Pack opponent and the Panthers this year. Nevada has won 49 of its last 51 games when holding its opponent to 60 points or less, including a 13-1 record in 2005-06, a 6-1 mark last year and a 3-0 record this season.
- Senior Demarshay Johnson has made his return to the starting lineup and responded by leading the team with a career high-tying 11 rebounds Jan. 17 vs. Idaho and turning in 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting Jan. 19 vs. Boise State. He also added nine points and six rebounds Jan. 24 at New Mexico State. Johnson started the first six games of the year but then embraced his role off the bench in the next nine before returning to the starting lineup Jan. 17 vs. the Vandals. He is fifth on the team with 7.2 points per game and third at 4.8 rebounds per contest.
- Nevada opened the year with a 2-4 record for the first time since the 2002-03 season (now 13-8). That season, Nevada played five of its first seven games on the road and turned in a 2-5 mark before winning its next three contests. The 2002-03 team finished with an 18-14 record and made a trip to the postseason NIT, the first of five consecutive postseason appearances for the Wolf Pack (one NIT bid and four NCAA appearances). In 2003-04, Nevada opened the year with a 2-3 mark before reeling off wins in its next five games and seven of its next eight. The Wolf Pack finished with a 25-9 record that season, winning its first of four WAC regular-season championships and making the first NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearance in school history.
- Nevada’s starting lineup in eight games this year has featured just one senior (Marcelus Kemp), three sophomores (Matt LaGrone, JaVale McGee, Brandon Fields) and one true freshman (Armon Johnson). Nevada has turned in a 6-2 record in those games.
- The Dec. 8 victory over Montana State snapped the Wolf Pack’s first three-game losing streak since dropping five straight contests at the end of the 2000-01 season. The Nov. 28 loss to Cal marked Nevada’s first back-to-back losses in the same season since 2005-06. The Wolf Pack lost its second-round NCAA game to Memphis last year and opened this season with a 63-60 loss at UCF on Nov. 11, but the team had not dropped back-to-back losses in the same season since falling to Fresno State and Utah State in January of 2006. Head coach Mark Fox’s squads have dropped back-to-back games just five times in his three-plus seasons and hold a 19-6 record following a loss in his tenure.
- Sophomore forward JaVale McGee, sophomore guard Brandon Fields and true freshman guard Armon Johnson all made their first career starts for the Wolf Pack on Nov. 11 at UCF. Johnson marked the first Wolf Pack true freshman to start a game since Ramon Sessions started 31 of 32 games in 2004-05. Sessions was named the WAC Freshman of the Year that season.
Following Thursday’s game with San Jose State, Nevada will play host to Hawai’i on Saturday, Feb. 9. ESPN2 will televise Saturday’s game to a national television audience. The Wolf Pack returns to the road next week, traveling to Boise State on Thursday, Feb. 14 and to Idaho on Saturday, Feb. 16.
Following Thursday’s game with San Jose State, Nevada will play host to Hawai’i on Saturday, Feb. 9. ESPN2 will televise Saturday’s game to a national television audience. The Wolf Pack returns to the road next week, traveling to Boise State on Thursday, Feb. 14 and to Idaho on Saturday, Feb. 16.