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San Diego State thumps Nevada
by Dan Eckles
Jan 23, 2013 | 2044 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Nevada's Ali Fall (right) and Jerry Evans (middle) try to pull down a rebound while San Diego State's Jamaal Franklin looks on during first-half action of the Wolf Pack's Mountain West Conference home loss Wednesday.
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Nevada's Ali Fall (right) and Jerry Evans (middle) try to pull down a rebound while San Diego State's Jamaal Franklin looks on during first-half action of the Wolf Pack's Mountain West Conference home loss Wednesday.
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RENO -- Nevada gave Mountain West Conference power San Diego State all it could handle for about 30 minutes. Then the wheels fell off the Wolf Pack wagon. The final result was a 78-57 SDSU win in the first meeting between the two schools in 14-plus years.

Back to back buckets by Nevada -- a Jerry Evans layup and a Devonte Elliott 17-foot jumper -- left the hosts down by just four, 56-52, with 9:53 remaining in the conference clash.

From there, San Diego State ripped off 14 straight points and extended its edge from four points to 18. Aztecs guard Xavier Thames buried a pair of foul shots with 6:22 left on the game clock to conclude the run and leave the southern California school on top 70-52.

San Diego State didn't let up after building on the big lead. The Aztecs pushed their lead to 21 points three times, including the final margin.

"I thought they took advantage of our inexperience," Nevada coach David Carter said. "I thought we had a lot of lineups out there that we wouldn't normally have but we had a lot the foul trouble. That contributed to their run and them shooting a high percentage. They got dunks, layups and we just missed a lot of assignments."

The Aztecs shot a sterling 54 percent from the field on 31-of-57. Conversely, Nevada was only 19-of-55 (34 percent). The visitors also won the war on the boards, 34-24.

The San Diego State win comes four days after the Aztecs had been upset at Wyoming, 58-45.

"I think we did what I expected us to do," veteran SDSU coach Steve Fisher said. "We're a veteran ball club that knows how to win. This victory started on Sunday when we started watching film. We had not been practicing like a championship team should. We were better the last couple days. I'm not surprised with how we came out and played."

Chase Tapley led San Diego State in the scoring column, posting 17 points. Jamaal Franklin and JJ O'Brien chipped in 14 and 12 points respectively to the winning cause.

Malik Story paced the Nevada offense with 17 points, but only two of those came after halftime. Evans added 14 but only four of his points came after the intermission. Deonte Burton chipped in 12 points in defeat and he had nine at halftime.

"We did a better job keeping Burton from getting to the rim and guarding Story without fouling him. We were better on the ball and off the ball," Fisher said of his squad's second-half defense. "We worked on how we wanted to defend their 'X-ing' off the lane. We had to compete. We didn't compete against Wyoming. We weren't prepared to win. We were prepared for this one."

It looked like things might go south for Nevada earlier than they did. A pair of Franklin free throws gave San Diego State a 26-12 advantage with 5:53 to go before halftime.

That's about the time something woke up the Nevada offense, at least briefly. The Wolf Pack proceeded to go on a 19-5 run in a stretch of less than four minutes. Evans capped the outburst when he got a putback, was fouled and converted the free throw for a 3-point play. Seconds later, he snagged a steal in the backcourt and quickly dropped in a layup that deadlocked the game at 31-31 with 2:07 remaining in the first half.

Not long after, Evans pulled down a rebound and drove coast to coast for layup in transition. That bucket pushed Nevada on top 38-37 with 15 ticks left before the break.

San Diego State (15-4, 3-2 MWC) took a 39-38 lead into the locker room at the half after O'Brien tipped in a miss just seconds before the clock expired on the first half.

"It's pretty embarrassing when you go from one-point deficit at half and you get beat by 21 at home," Carter said. "It's really embarrassing. I don't think we've had a team do that."

Nevada (10-8, 1-3) returns to the hardwood Saturday when it hosts Boise State at 1 p.m.

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