No. 10/10 NEVADA WOLF PACK (27-3, 14-2 WAC)
vs. IDAHO VANDALS (4-26, 1-15 WAC)
WAC TOURNAMENT - GAME NO. 31
Thurs., March 8, 2007 - 12:05 p.m. MT (11:05 a.m. PT) - Pan American Center (13,071) - Las Cruces, N.M.
TELEVISION: KAME-TV 21 (Randy Rosenbloom & Larry Farmer),
ESPN Full Court & wac.tv (live video steaming on the web)
RADIO: Wolf Pack Sports Network (ESPN Radio 630 AM, Reno)
Don Marchand (play-by-play) & Sirius Radio 126 (Rick Seidel)
Pregame, 11:40 a.m. MT (10:40 a.m. PT)
SERIES HISTORY: Nevada leads the series 28-22.
LAST MEETING: Nevada has won the last six meetings between the two teams, most recently turning in an 84-68 victory in Nevada’s WAC opener on Feb. 22 in Moscow, Idaho.
Coming off a 69-65 victory over New Mexico State in the team’s regular-season finale, the No. 10 Nevada Wolf Pack (27-3, 14-2 WAC) opens play in the 2007 Western Athletic Conference Tournament on Thursday at 12:05 p.m. Mountain (11:05 a.m. Pacific) at the Pan American Center in Las Cruces, N.M. Top-seeded Nevada will take on No. 9 seed Idaho (4-26, 2-15 WAC), which turned in a 50-49 victory over eighth-seeded San Jose State in Tuesday’s play-in game. Thursday’s game will be televised locally by KAME-TV 21 and will also be carried as part of the ESPN Full Court package and on the internet at wac.tv. This season, Nevada clinched sole possession of the 2007 WAC regular-season title, marking the fourth consecutive year that the team earned at least a share of the conference crown and the third straight season the team won the WAC title outright. The Wolf Pack has also won two of the last three WAC Tournament titles heading into this year’s event. Ranked 10th in this week’s Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ polls, Nevada is part of a three-way tie for the best winning percentage in the country with its 27-3 overall record (.900). With its 27-3 mark, Nevada has matched its wins total from last season, turned in the second-most victories in school history and notched its fourth consecutive season with at least 25 victories. The Wolf Pack also heads to Las Cruces looking to improve upon its 12-2 record away from home this year.
NEVADA IN THE WAC TOURNAMENT
Nevada holds a 9-4 record in WAC Tournament games since joining the league in 2000-01 and has won two of the last three WAC Tournament titles. This year marks the fourth consecutive year that Nevada has clinched the No. 1 seed in the WAC Tournament.
Last season, the Wolf Pack captured the 2006 WAC Tournament championship in Reno, downing Idaho, New Mexico State and Utah State. In 2005, Nevada fell to Boise State 73-72 in the quarterfinals in Reno, while the season before, Nevada captured the 2004 WAC Tournament championship in Fresno, Calif. In 2004, the team defeated SMU and Rice before taking down UTEP in the championship game 66-60. Nevada also advanced to the WAC Tournament championship game in 2003 in Tulsa, Okla., downing Louisiana Tech and SMU before falling to the Golden Hurricane.
With a 14-2 mark in conference action this season, Nevada captured sole possession of the 2007 Western Athletic Conference regular-season championship, besting second-place New Mexico State by three games. That marked the third straight season that Nevada has won the title outright and the fourth consecutive year that the team has won a share of the regular-season conference crown. Nevada turned in a 13-3 mark to win the title last season, while the Wolf Pack won the regular-season crown with a WAC-record 16-2 conference mark in 2004-05. In 2003-04, Nevada tied for first with UTEP with a 13-5 record in WAC play.
Senior forward Nick Fazekas has been named the Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year for the third consecutive season. Fazekas becomes just the second player in conference history to win the award three times joining Utah’s Keith Van Horn (1995-97), while it marks the fourth year in a row that Nevada can claim the WAC Player of the Year as Kirk Snyder won the award in 2003-04. Third-year Wolf Pack head coach Mark Fox was named the 2007 Don Haskins Coach of the Year for the third consecutive year, becoming the first coach in WAC history to earn the award three straight years.
In addition to Fazekas who was also a first-team All-WAC pick, Nevada had three other players earn recognition from the league’s coaches this year. Junior guard Marcelus Kemp was named a first-team All-WAC selection, while junior guard Ramon Sessions earned second-team accolades. Senior guard Kyle Shiloh also earned a spot on the WAC All-Defensive team for the first time in his outstanding career.
NEVADA NOTCHES ITS FOURTH CONSECUTIVE 25-WIN SEASON
With its 84-68 victory on Feb. 22 at Idaho, Nevada notched its fourth consecutive season with at least 25 wins (25-9 in 2003-04, 25-7 in 2004-05, 27-6 in 2005-06 and 27-3 this season). The Wolf Pack is now 27-3 on the year, which is tied with Ohio State and Memphis for the best record in the nation, while the team has turned in the second-most victories in school history and can tie the Wolf Pack single-season wins mark with its next victory.
The team’s Feb. 13 win over San Jose State marked Nevada’s 100th win in the last four seasons. The Wolf Pack has now turned in a 104-25 record since the beginning of the 2003-04 season (.806 winning percentage). With its victory at Louisiana Tech on Jan. 31, the Wolf Pack also reached 20 wins faster than any team in school history, needing just 22 games to achieve the milestone. That marked the team’s fourth consecutive 20-win season as well as the ninth in school history. Head coach Jake Lawlor’s 1945-46 squad won its 20th contest 24 games into the season en route to its school-record 28 wins (28-5 overall record that year). Last season, the Wolf Pack earned its 20th victory 25 games into the year in its BracketBusters win over Akron on Feb. 17, while the 2004-05 squad also took 25 contests to reach the 20-win milestone. Head coach Mark Fox is the first coach in school history to lead more than one team to at least 20 wins, doing so in each of his first three seasons.
NEVADA SINGLE-SEASON WINS RECORD
Year Record Head Coach
1945-46 28-5 Jake Lawlor
2005-06 27-6 Mark Fox
2006-07 27-3 Mark Fox
2004-05 25-7 Mark Fox
2003-04 25-9 Trent Johnson
1965-66 21-6 Jack Spencer
1978-79 21-7 Jim Carey
1984-85 21-10 Sonny Allen
1996-97 21-10 Pat Foster
BEST RECORDS IN THE NATION THIS SEASON (THROUGH MARCH 3)
27-3 (.900) Nevada
27-3 (.900) Ohio State
27-3 (.900) Memphis
29-4 (.879) Davidson
28-4 (.875) Winthrop
27-4 (.871) Kansas
27-4 (.871) Wisconsin
IN THE RANKINGS
Nevada has been featured in the national top 25 all season and checks in at 10th in both the Associated Press and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ polls released on Monday, March 5. That matches the highest AP ranking in school history, while the team had been ranked ninth in the previous two coaches’ polls, the highest ranking in school history. Prior to this year, Nevada had 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.
ABOUT THE IDAHO VANDALS
Idaho brings a 4-26 overall record into Thursday’s game with Nevada and snapped a 12-game losing streak with its 50-49 win over San Jose State on Tuesday. The Vandals finished ninth in the WAC this year with a 1-15 league mark. Under the direction of first-year head coach George Pfeifer, Idaho returned two starters and four letterwinners from last year’s 4-25 team and added 10 newcomers to this season’s squad. The Vandals finished in ninth in the WAC last season with a 1-15 record.
Senior guard Keoni Watson (5-10, 180) is leading three Vandals in double figures for scoring with 18.2 points per game, which ranks third in the WAC statistics. He also ranks second in the WAC in three-point shooting, knocking down 40.8 percent from beyond the arc (69-169). Junior forward Darin Nagle (6-10, 221), a transfer from North Idaho College, is Idaho’s top rebounder at 6.2 boards per game.
IN THE SERIES
Nevada leads the series with Idaho 28-22 and has won the last six meetings between the two former members of the Big West Conference. In this year’s two regular-season meetings, the Wolf Pack turned in an 81-55 victory on Jan. 6 in Reno and an 84-68 win on Feb. 22 in Moscow. Last season, Nevada won all three meetings between the two squads, including a 70-44 victory on Jan. 12 in Reno and a 74-68 win on Feb. 20 in Moscow in the regular season. Nevada also downed Idaho 68-55 on March 9 in the quarterfinals of the 2006 WAC Tournament at Lawlor Events Center in Reno. Prior to last year, the two teams had previously played in 2000.
Including a 10-2 record this year, Nevada won four of its last five road games and 16 of its last 18. The team turned in a 6-2 record in WAC road contests this season, while counting two neutral-site victories, the Wolf Pack holds a 12-2 record away from home this year.
Nevada had an 11-game regular-season road winning streak snapped with its Jan. 20 loss at New Mexico State. Included in that 11-game streak were seven straight WAC road victories, including a 72-63 victory at San Jose State on Jan. 11 and a 68-66 overtime win at Hawai’i on Jan. 13. 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-Lafayette 86-74 Nov. 29 in the Cajundome. The Wolf Pack also 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 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 Seattle.
The Wolf Pack has tallied a 31-7 record in road contests in the last three seasons (81.6 percent 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, Santa Clara and Louisiana-Lafayette 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.
LAST TIME OUT
Junior Marcelus Kemp scored 21 of his 32 points in the second half to lead Nevada to a 69-65 victory over New Mexico State on Saturday night at Lawlor Events Center.
Senior Nick Fazekas added 22 points and nine rebounds, and junior Ramon Sessions grabbed 10 rebounds. Kemp was 9-for-17 from the field and 12-for-13 from the free throw line, including four straight after a foul and technical foul that gave Nevada a 50-47 lead midway through the second half that it did not relinquish.
Tyrone Nelson scored 15 points, Elijah Ingram 13 and Ted Knauber 12 for New Mexico State, which trailed 21-15 early but closed the first half with an 11-4 run to take a 31-28 lead at the break.
The Aggies outshot the Wolf Pack 40 percent to 39 percent and outrebounded them 41-39 but were only 9-for-17 from the foul line to Nevada's 29-of-35.
The Aggies scored 17 points off 15 Nevada turnovers in the first half, but the Wolf Pack turned the ball over only three times the second half.
Nelson scored six points in a row, including a 19-footer to put the Aggies ahead 47-46 with 10:39 left in the game. But on the next possession, Shaun Davis fouled Kemp, was called for a technical when he complained and Kemp made all four free throws for the three-point lead with 10:17 left.
Kemp then made a 3-pointer and Fazekas a pair of free throws for a 54-49 lead. Ingram answered with a 3 to pull New Mexico State to 54-52, and after Shiloh's basket off a behind-the-back dribble on a break, Nelson converted a 3-point play to get to 56-55 at 7:12. Kemp was fouled on a 3-point attempt and made all three free throws to put Nevada ahead 59-55 with 6:56 left.
Ingram went the length of the floor for a layup to make it 64-61 at 1:20. Knauber made a basket and was fouled but couldn't convert the free throw to leave it 65-63 with 28 seconds. Kemp and Fazekas each made a pair of free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
With Nevada’s Dec. 16 win over Pacific, seniors Nick Fazekas and Kyle Shiloh became the winningest players in school history, passing Kevinn Pinkney (2002-05) for the distinction. The pair now has 104 career victories to their credit. Since starting their Wolf Pack careers in 2003-04, Fazekas and Shiloh have played on teams that have amassed a 104-25 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, 2006 and 2007 Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year, senior forward Nick Fazekas will finish his career as the most decorated players in school history. He is 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). He has been named a 2007 Wooden Award Midseason All-American and is under consideration for that prestigious National Player of the Year award. Fazekas is also one of 10 finalists for the 2007 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, presented annually to an NCAA Division I male senior basketball player who excels both on and off the court. He is also one of 50 players on the preseason watch list for the 2007 Naismith Trophy and has been named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches All-District 13 first team.
A preseason first-team All-American by Athlon and Street & Smith's, Fazekas has moved into the top five 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 2,397 career points, which ranks third on the WAC’s career scoring lists. Fazekas has already set Nevada's career record for blocked shots with 185, overtaking Jones who had 142 in his career. He has moved into first on the career list for field goals made with 876 and has also set the school record for free throws made with 530. With his five rebounds Dec. 12 vs. Saint Mary’s, he moved past Jones for second on the Nevada career rebounding list, while his 1,216 rebounds are also second in the WAC career annals.
Fazekas has turned in double-doubles in 18 of his 28 games this season and has scored in double figures in 58 consecutive games, dating back to last season. That marks the fourth-longest double-figures streak in the country. He has also had 66 career games with at least 20 points, the most among active players in the nation, including 18 this season. Fazekas scored a season-high 33 points to go along with 15 rebounds Feb. 8 at Fresno State, had 21 points and 14 rebounds Feb. 22 at Idaho, added 28 points and eight rebounds Feb. 24 at Boise State and had 20 points and 10 rebounds March 1 at Utah State. He had 24 points and a career high-tying 18 rebounds Jan. 27 vs. Utah State and 21 points and 10 rebounds Feb. 3 vs. Hawai’i. He 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 best 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. Fazekas also turned in a game-high 24 points and nine rebounds despite fouling out with 5:15 to play on Dec. 30 vs. Gonzaga.
Fazekas joins Texas’ Kevin Durant (24.9 ppg, 11.5 rpg) and Rider’s Jason Thompson (20.1 ppg, 10.1 rpg) as one of three players in the country to be averaging at least 20 points and 10 rebounds. He is second in the WAC in scoring at 20.9 points per game, behind Utah State’s Jaycee Carroll (21.0 ppg). After leading the nation for the first seven weeks of the season, Fazekas is now first in the WAC and fifth in the NCAA in rebounding (11.3 boards per game) and has the WAC’s second-best field goal percentage (57.3 percent, 223-389). In addition, Fazekas also ranks 15th in the nation in scoring, 34th in field goal percentage and 45th in free throw percentage.
Fazekas suffered a severe ankle sprain Jan. 8 vs. Boise State and missed the first two games of his career at San Jose State Jan. 11 and Hawai’i Jan. 13. He returned to action Jan. 18 vs. Fresno State, turning in 20 points and 10 rebounds in 25 minutes while playing with a brace on the sore ankle and added 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting Jan. 20 at New Mexico State. Prior to the SJSU game, he had played in all 114 previous games in his four years at Nevada and had started 102 career games, including 86 consecutive contests. The senior has now played in 127 career games with 115 starts.
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 for the 2006 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.
Nation’s Longest Current Double Figure Scoring Streaks (through March 5)
63 Trey Johnson, Jackson State
60 Caleb Green, Oral Roberts
58 Nick Fazekas, Nevada
55 Brandon Heath, San Diego State
Nation’s Active Career 20-Point Games Leaders (through March 5)
66 Nick Fazekas, Nevada
63 Caleb Green, Oral Roberts
60 Gary Neal, Towson
52 Larry Blair, Liberty
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.
FOX AMONG 15 FINALISTS FOR JIM PHELAN NATIONAL COACH OF THE YEAR AWARD
Third-year head coach Mark Fox has been named one of 15 finalists for the 2007 Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year Award.
Fox has turned in a 79-16 record in three seasons at the helm of the Nevada men’s basketball program (.832). He has led the Wolf Pack to three consecutive WAC regular-season titles and back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances. Last year, Fox became the first coach in school history to lead his squad to back-to-back 20-win seasons (and now a third straight). He is also the first coach in WAC history to be named the Don Haskins Coach of the Year in three consecutive seasons (2005-07).
The Jim Phelan Award is given annually to the nation’s top coach, as voted on by the 20-member panel. The winner will be presented with the award at the Final Four in Atlanta. Prior to 2003 the award was known simply as the CollegeInsider.com national coach of the year. It was renamed to honor longtime Mount St. Mary’s coach Jim Phelan who retired following the 2002-03 season.
Previous winners are Howland (2006), Tubby Smith (Kentucky, 2005), Phil Martelli (St. Joseph’s, 2004) and Mark Slonaker (Mercer, 2003).
WOLF PACK SHOOTING THE BALL WELL
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 eighth in the NCAA in three-point percentage (41.1 percent, 225-547). Nevada also ranks first in the WAC and 18th in the country in field goal percentage (48.8 percent) as well as second in the WAC and 12th in the NCAA in free throw percentage (75.6 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 17 of its 30 games and has made at least seven three-pointers in all but nine games this year. The Wolf Pack knocked down a season-high 12 treys Jan. 11 at San Jose State, making 63.2 percent of its attempts (12-19). The team has made 11 treys in four other games this year: Nov. 21 vs. UC Irvine (11-19), Jan. 18 vs. Fresno State (11-25), Feb. 24 at Boise State (11-22) and March 1 at Utah State (11-24). Nevada also turned in a season-best 71.4 effort from beyond the arc Dec. 12 vs. Saint Mary’s (10-14).
The Wolf Pack has shot the ball well from the field this year and turned in a season-high 62.0 percent effort from the field Feb. 22 at Idaho. Nevada made 31-of-50 attempts in the game vs. the Vandals, including a 66.7 percent effort in the first half (20-30). That bested 59.6 percent shooting effort Nevada turned in on Dec. 28 vs. Maine (34-57), including an impressive 64.0 percent showing in the second half (16-25). Nevada shot 56.9 from the field (66-116) and 50.0 percent from three-point land (17-34) in its victories at Idaho on Feb. 22 and Boise State on Feb. 24. The team shot a season-high 62.0 percent from the field at Idaho and made 53.0 percent at Boise State.
NOTES FROM BEYOND THE ARC
The WAC’s top three-point shooting team this year at 41.1 percent (eighth in the nation), Nevada has already shattered the school single-season record for three-pointers made. The Wolf Pack now has made 225 three-pointers this year, breaking the school-record 214 made by the 1996-97 Wolf Pack squad.
In addition to leading the team and ranking third in the WAC in three-pointers made, junior Marcelus Kemp ranks fourth on the Nevada single-season charts with 73 three-pointers made. He needs to make just one more trey to move into a tie for second on that list.
SCHOOL IS IN SESSIONS
After averaging 4.7 points per game last season, junior Ramon Sessions is turning in an average of 12.8 points per contest this year, which ranks 14th in the WAC. He has led the team in scoring in four games this year, including 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting Jan. 25 vs. La Tech and a career high-tying 23 points Jan. 20 at New Mexico State.
Sessions has turned in five 20-point games this season and a total of six in his career. He scored all 20 of his points in the second half in the Dec. 30 win over Gonzaga, turned in 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting Dec. 22 at Akron, had 21 in the Jan. 8 win over Boise State and turned in a team-high 19 Jan. 13 at Hawai’i.
Sessions, who is also leading the team in assists for the third consecutive season, is shooting 46.7 percent from the field and 39.1 percent from three-point land (18-46) this season after turning in a 35.9 percent effort from the field and not making any treys one year ago (0-3).
DISHING IT OUT
The Wolf Pack ranks second in the WAC and 19th in the NCAA in assists so far this season and has two players ranked in the top 10 in the league in the category. Nevada is averaging 16.77 assists per game and turned in a season-best 28 assists Dec. 28 against Maine.
With 139 assists so far this year, junior Ramon Sessions is ranked second in the WAC with 4.63 assists per game. Sessions turned in a season-high eight assists in the Dec. 16 win over Pacific and matched that Feb. 8 at Fresno State. He had seven assists in the Nov. 21 victory over UC Irvine, seven (and no turnovers) Nov. 29 at Louisiana-Lafayette and seven Jan. 27 vs. Utah State. Sessions has also dished out at least five assists in 11 other contests this year. He has averaged 5.4 assists per game in the last seven contests. Senior Kyle Shiloh is second on the team and seventh in the league at 3.27 assists per game, while junior Marcelus Kemp is third on the team with 2.33 assists per contest, including six Feb. 14 vs. San Jose State and Feb. 17 vs. Northern Iowa. Shiloh has turned in a season high six assists twice this year, including six assists with no turnovers Jan. 27 vs. Utah State.
One of 17 national finalists for the Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year Award, Sessions has moved into third place in the Nevada career record books with 458 assists in just 93 career games (4.9 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.
Shiloh and Sessions are also ranked in the top five in the WAC in assist-to-turnover ratio. Shiloh is third in the WAC at 1.96 (98 assists-50 turnovers) and Sessions is fourth (1.88, 139-74), while sophomore Lyndale Burleson would be leading the WAC at 2.41 (65-27) but falls short of the league minimum of 3.00 assists per game. As a team, Nevada has the league’s best 1.26 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 40.6 percent of his three-point attempts this season (73-180), good for fourth in the WAC statistics, and is also third in the league in three-point field goals made (2.43). He has tied his career best with five three-pointers made in four games this season: in the Nov. 10 season opener vs. Alaska-Anchorage, at Oregon State on Nov. 15, Jan. 11 at San Jose State and Thursday at Utah State. He also added four on Jan. 18 vs. Fresno State, draining 4-of-6 attempts from beyond the arc, and made 4-of-7 Feb. 3 vs. Hawai’i.
Kemp ranks second on the team and fourth in the WAC in scoring at 18.2 points per game. Kemp also ranks eighth in the WAC in field goal percentage at 46.0 percent. Kemp has led the team in scoring 15 times this year, including nine of the last 17 games. He has turned in 14 games with 20 or more points, most recently leading the team with 25 points March 1 at Utah State and scoring a game-high 32 points March 3 vs. New Mexico State. He scored a season-best 33 points Jan. 11 at San Jose State, which was just one point shy of his career-high 34 vs. Montana in the 2006 NCAA Tournament, turned in 29 points, including 5-of-6 three-pointers, Nov. 15 at Oregon State and added 27 points Jan. 8 vs. Boise State.
With his 14 points Jan. 20 at New Mexico State, Kemp became the 18th player in school history to join the 1,000-point club and now has 1,197 career points, which ranks 13th on the all-time Nevada scoring lists.
Last year, Kemp was 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 67.1 points and 31.3 rebounds per game, including a season-low 45 points by Oregon State on Nov. 15 and 23 rebounds by La Tech on Jan. 25. 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 46 of its last 48 games when holding its opponent to 60 points or less, including a 13-1 record last season and a 5-1 mark this year (most recently a 68-60 win over San Jose State on Feb. 14).
Nevada ranks fourth in the league in scoring defense and second in rebounding defense this year. The squad is also allowing teams to shoot just 40.9 percent from the field and 31.9 percent from three-point land, marks which rank third in the WAC. Nevada is also ranked 46th 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 (28th in the nation). 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.
NEWS AND NOTES
- Nevada made a season-high 29 free throws and attempted a season-best 35 in Saturday’s victory over New Mexico State.
- Nevada has made all of its free throw attempts in two games this year: March 1 at Utah State (8-8) and Feb. 22 at Idaho (16-16). The eight free throw attempts vs. Utah State tied a season low for the Wolf Pack. The Wolf Pack has shot 83.0 percent from the free throw line in its last eight games (146-176). As a team, Nevada ranks second in the WAC and 12th in the NCAA in free throw percentage at 75.6 percent. The team also shot 95.2 percent from the line Feb. 3 vs. Hawai’i (20-21).
- Senior Nick Fazekas ranks second in the WAC and 45th in the NCAA in free throw percentage at 84.8 percent (112-132), including 7-of-7 efforts vs. Northern Iowa and at Idaho. Junior Ramon Sessions is fourth in the WAC in the category, knocking down 83.1 percent of his attempts this season (113-136), including a career-high 13-of-16 Jan. 8 vs. Boise State, while junior Marcelus Kemp checks in at seventh at 78.1 percent (89-114), including a 12-of-13 effort March 1 vs. NMSU. Sessions shot just 56.8 percent from the free throw line last year (25-44).
- While he had already set the Wolf Pack men’s basketball career scoring record with 2,355 points, senior Nick Fazekas has now scored the most points by any Nevada basketball player - men’s or women’s. He broke Wolf Pack women’s basketball player Chris Starr’s school-record mark of 2,356 points (1982-86) with his first basket March 1 at Utah State and now has 2,397 career points.
- With its overtime loss at Utah State on March 1, Nevada has turned in a 2-7 record in its last nine overtime games and is 1-1 this year. The Jan. 13 victory over Hawai’i also marked the second straight year that Nevada had gone to overtime in Honolulu. Last year, the Wolf Pack turned in a 1-1 record in overtime games. Its win over Utah State in the championship game of the 2006 WAC Tournament snapped a string of six overtime losses dating back to the 2001-02 season.
- All five of Nevada's starters scored in double figures Feb. 24 at Boise State for the first time this season. The Wolf Pack had seen four starters score in double figures in 10 other games this year prior to Boise State.
- Senior Kyle Shiloh has averaged 12.1 points per game in his last seven games (85 points), including a season-high 18 Feb. 8 at Fresno State, 16 Feb. 14 vs. San Jose State and Feb. 17 Northern Iowa and 12 at both Idaho and Boise State. He also turned in the first double-double of his career at Fresno State, matching his season high with 18 points and pulling down the career-best 11 rebounds. All 16 of Shiloh’s points came in the second half vs. NIU.
- The team holds a 22-2 record when outrebounding its opponents this season and is outboarding its opponents by a WAC-best 6.7 rebounds per game this year. Led by the nation’s No. 5 rebounder, senior Nick Fazekas (11.3 rpg), Nevada ranks in the top five in the WAC in all five rebounding categories this season: offense (3rd-38.1 rpg), defense (2nd-31.3), margin (1st-6.7), offensive (5th-11.73) and defensive rebounds (3rd-26.33). Nevada also ranks 16th in the NCAA in rebounding margin.
- The Wolf Pack has been outrebounded just five times this year (twice by Hawai’i and New Mexico State and by Northern Iowa) and has won four of those five contests. The Wolf Pack pulled down a season-high 56 rebounds Feb. 8 at Fresno State and outrebounded the Bulldogs by 29 boards (56-27). That marked the team's second-highest rebounding margin of the year with the Wolf Pack only outrebounding Oregon State by more (54-24) on Nov. 15.
- The Wolf Pack has turned in a 14-3 record in games decided by 10 points or less this year, including a 5-1 mark in tilts decided by five points or less.
- The Wolf Pack is outscoring its opponents by a WAC-best 10.5 points per game this year (20th in the country in scoring margin). The team also ranks second in the WAC and 28th in the nation in scoring with an average of 77.6 points per game. The team scored a season-high 95 points Feb. 24 at Boise State, besting the previous high of 90 points, also against the Broncos on Jan. 8 in Reno.
- The Wolf Pack and third-year head coach Mark Fox have turned in a combined 30-4 record over the final two months of the season (February and March) in the last three years, including a 21-0 mark in the month of February.
- Over the last five seasons, Nevada has turned in a 123-39 overall mark (.759), which is the most wins and is the best winning percentage of any WAC team during that time (just ahead of Utah State’s 113-38 record, .748). In conference games, the Wolf Pack has won 66 games, which is the most among league schools in that same time period. The next closest team is Fresno State, which has won 50 league contests.
- Senior Kyle Shiloh is fourth in the WAC with an average of 1.40 steals per game this year. He ranks seventh on the Wolf Pack career list with 129 career steals. Shiloh has turned in a season-best four steals five times this year (vs. Alaska-Anchorage, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Idaho, Hawai’i and most recently Jan. 20 at New Mexico State).
- Nevada has won its 24 of its last 26 regular-season WAC games and 27 of its last 29 games against WAC opponents, including three WAC Tournament victories last season. The team won its last 10 WAC regular-season contests last year and won 14 of 16 this year.
- Senior Denis Ikovlev scored a career-best 18 points in the Jan. 18 win over Fresno State, making six field goals and three 3-pointers. He made a career-best four three-pointers Feb. 24 at Boise State (4-of-5). Ikovlev has started all 29 games this year (his first career starts) and is averaging 6.7 points and 3.9 rebounds per contest (up from averages of 1.8 points and 1.0 rebounds per game last year). He pulled down a career-best nine rebounds to go along with 12 points Feb. 8 at Fresno State, while he had 14 points Feb. 24 at Boise State. Ikovlev has made at least one three-pointer in 23 of 30 games this year, including nine games with more than one. He tied his then career best with three treys on Jan. 25 vs. La Tech, going 3-of-4 from beyond the arc, and did it again Feb. 17 vs. Northern Iowa (3-3).
- The Wolf Pack has won 41 of its last 45 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.
- 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 185, Fazekas is fifth in the WAC at 1.46 blocks per game. He tied his career best with four blocks on Dec. 12 vs. Saint Mary’s. McGee is ninth in the league at 0.97 swat per game with a career-best four Jan. 6 vs. Idaho.
The winner of Nevada’s game on Thursday will play at 6:05 p.m. Mountain Time (5:05 p.m. PT) in Friday’s semifinals, while Saturday’s championship game is set for 7:05 p.m. MT (6:05 p.m. PT). The winner of the WAC Tournament will earn the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championships.
CBS Sports will televise the official selection show announcing the 65-team NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship field, pairings and sites from 3-4 p.m. Pacific Time on Sunday, March 11.