Nevada took a 41-30 lead into the locker room at halftime, due largely to its strong start. Darrell Connor knocked down a 3-pointer for the Wolf Pack with 11:31 left in the first half. At that point, Nevada had connected on 11 of its first 14 shots from the field and had a 26-12 lead.
With 7:36 left before the break, Nevada got a finger roll layup from Deonte Burton and held a 35-17 advantage, its largest of the first half.
“No question that’s the difference in the game,” San Jose State coach George Nessman said, alluding to Nevada’s hot start. “They came out and were just drilling shot after shot. Down 18 on the road is a tough spot to be. There were certain spots in the game where we outplayed them, but once you’re in that hole, it’s tough.”
The Wolf Pack did cool off a bit.
San Jose State proceeded to score 13 of the next 16 points and trimmed Nevada’s lead to eight, 38-30, following a floater in the lane from Adrian Oliver.
Nevada got a runner from Malik Story and San Jose State saw Keith Shamburger make good on 1 of 2 free throws to account for the 41-30 halftime score.
After its hot shooting start (11-of-14), Nevada made just four of its next 15 shots into halftime.
It mattered little. San Jose State was never able to throw a scare into its Nevada hosts. The Spartans threw in the first basket of the second half, a baseline jumper by Oliver. That got the guests within seven, 40-33, seconds after halftime, but they were never that close again.
The Wolf Pack responded with an 11-2 spurt to grab a 51-35 lead. Burton concluded the run with a 3-pointer that bounced around the rim and down, making it 51-35 at the 15:32 mark of the second half.
San Jose State tried to hang around. An Oliver runner with just under 10 minutes to go in the league tilt trimmed Nevada’s lead to 10, 54-44.
The gap was still 10, 67-57, after Oliver canned two foul shots with 5:29 left.
Nevada pulled away from there. The Wolf Pack outscored the Spartans 22-11 over the next five minutes to blow the game open.
Nevada finished the game shooting 29-of-56 (52 percent) compared to SJSU’s 25-of-64 (39 percent).
While the stat sheet was relatively close in most areas, the Wolf Pack held a big advantage in bench scoring. The Nevada reserves outscored their San Jose State counterparts, 31-2. Six different Pack reserves found their way into the scoring column.
“We knew what Czyz and Hunt, their starters, could do,” Nessman said. “But their bench players did a great job. They had some bench players that really stepped up, really contributed.”
Dario Hunt had a big night for Nevada. The athletic junior forward grabbed 16 points and pulled down a career-high 19 rebounds. Story also had 16 points for Nevada while Jerry Evans Jr. and Czyz added 11 and 10 respectively.
“I didn’t know I had that many rebounds,” Hunt said. “I was just trying to go up there and get everything I could.”
“Dario played spirited,” Nevada coach David Carter said. “That helps with the outside game when he has a presence. They can’t sag off our outside shooters.”
Oliver poured in 25 points for San Jose State to lead all scorers. Shamburger and Justin Graham chipped in 16 and 14 points in defeat for the Spartans.
Nevada improved to 9-14 overall and 6-4 in conference play. The Wolf Pack gets the week off before it plays San Jose State (11-11, 3-8) again, Saturday in the Bay Area. Tip-off is 7 p.m.