It’s been a weird season for the Lobos, who are off to a strong 16-5 start. However, the list of casualties is starting to grow for New Mexico, which recently dismissed power forward Carlton Bragg Jr. and lost of its top players due to injury. Meanwhile, Nevada has won five of its first eight conference games but the Wolf Pack remain without a quality win under Steve Alford. Can the Wolf Pack sustain their momentum at home against the Lobos on Saturday night?
New Mexico snaps two-game skid without LyleNew Mexico snapped its season-long two-game losing streak on Tuesday with an 86-59 victory at home over San Jose. Corey Manigault led all players in scoring with 21 points while Zane Martin chipped in 20 and Makuch Maluach added 15 points and 13 rebounds in the win. The Lobos never trailed and led by as many as 31 points without leading scorer JaQuan Lyle.
Paul Weir’s squad comes into the weekend slotted at No. 114 in the latest KenPom rankings after stopping their slide at two games. New Mexico has scored 107.2 points per 100 possessions for the season (69th in the NCAA) and 107.4 points per 100 possessions during conference play (3rd in the Mountain West). Through eight conference games, the Lobos own the top effective field goal percentage in the Mountain West at 55.3 percent and they’ve shot a red-hot 58.6 percent from 2-point range (1st in the Mountain West). However, they’ve struggled to take care of the basketball, turning the ball over on 19.9 percent of their offensive possessions during conference play (11th in the Mountain West).
On defense, the Lobos have given up 102.0 points per 100 possessions for the season (168th in the NCAA) but that number has jumped to 106.4 points per 100 possessions during league play (8th in the Mountain West). Opposing teams have been torching the Lobos from beyond the arc this season. Mountain West opponents have shot a blistering 37.8 percent from long-range against the Lobos’ defense (11th in the Mountain West) so far this year.
Harris leads Nevada to win over UNLVNevada got back on the winning track on Wednesday with an 86-72 victory at home against UNLV. Jalen Harris scored a team-high 28 points while Jazz Johnson chipped in 19 points for the Wolf Pack, who shot 11-for-26 from deep and turned the ball over just six times in the win.
"We really focused on helping each other." 🔊 Listen in on some of the best bites from Wednesday's postgame presser.— Nevada Basketball (@NevadaHoops) January 24, 2020
And now, we need your help on Saturday when we take on New Mexico!
🎟️ https://t.co/wpgzJvS0fF#BattleBorn pic.twitter.com/qGSIO7ofkr
Alford’s first season in Reno has been solid but unspectacular. Nevada has scored 106.6 points per 100 possessions for the season (72nd in the NCAA) and 106.3 points per 100 possessions during conference play (5th in the Mountain West). The Wolf Pack are studious with the basketball, turning the ball over a league-low 16.0 percent of the time during conference play. Nevada also isn’t shy about letting it fly from beyond the arc, where they’ve attempted 44.0 percent of their total field goal attempts (4th in the Mountain West) and they lead the league in 3-point shooting at 40.5 percent. However, the Wolf Pack have connected on just 44.8 percent of their shots from inside the arc (11th in the Mountain West) so far this year.
On defense, Nevada has given up 99.3 points per 100 possessions (128th in the NCAA) and 101.3 points per 100 possessions during conference play (4th in the Mountain West). The Wolf Pack rank as the second-best effective field goal percentage in the conference at 46.1 percent and they rank first in defensive block rate at 12.5 percent.