The Nevada Wolf Pack men’s basketball team couldn’t shoot straight or hang onto the ball Saturday afternoon in a 78-54 loss to the Nebraska Omaha Mavericks.
The loss, in front of a private gathering of 1,723 fans at Ralston Arena, is the Pack’s biggest setback since a 73-47 loss at Boise State on Feb. 27. 2013. The Wolf Pack has now lost four games in a row — all on the road — since a 2-0 start to the season to fall to 2-4. Nebraska Omaha, of the Summit League, is now 3-2.
The Wolf Pack took a 32-31 lead into its halftime locker room only to watch its defense and offense disappear in the second 20 minutes as the Mavericks won the second half convincingly, 47-22. The Wolf Pack went scoreless for nearly a four-minute stretch as the Mavericks went on a 10-0 run to take a 54-37 lead with 13 minutes to play.
The Pack turned the ball over 20 times and shot just 32 percent (19-of-59) from the floor. The Pack also missed 14 of its 17 shots from 3-point range and was also just 13-of-21 (62 percent) from the free throw line. Nebraska Omaha turned the ball over just 11 times, shot 50 percent (26-of-52) from the floor and was 7-of-15 on 3-pointers.
Michael Perez gave the Pack an early 11-8 lead with a jumper with 13 minutes to play in the first half. Marqueze Coleman tied the game at 25-25 with a layup off an assist from A.J. West with 6:35 to go in the opening half and Lucas Stivrins tied the game at 28-28 with an offensive rebound and a short jumper with 2:47 to go in the half.
Coleman gave the Pack a 30-28 lead with two minutes to go in the half on a layup after a D.J Fenner steal and West’s dunk put the Pack up 32-28 with 49 seconds to go before the half.
A 3-pointer by Tre’Shawn Thurman, though, wiped out the one-point Wolf Pack halftime lead just 13 seconds into the second half and the Mavericks never relinquished the lead the rest of the game. Thurman had a layup for a 36-32 Omaha lead and Mike Rostampour gave the Mavericks a 38-32 lead with 18:21 to go in the game. The Mavericks run reached 13-3 to open the second half as Thurman hit another 3-pointer for a 44-35 lead with 17:12 to go.
A jumper by Stivrins cut Omaha’s lead to 44-37 with 16:47 to play but the Pack offense disappeared for nearly the next four minutes. The Pack didn’t score again until Coleman hit a jumper, cutting Omaha’s lead to 54-39 with 12:51 to play. Rostampour, who finished with 17 points, had six points during the Mavericks 10-0 run.
West had a dunk to cut Omaha’s lead to 60-42 with nine minutes to play and Perez had a jumper as the Pack closed to within 20 (52-32) with three minutes left.
West finished with 10 points and seven rebounds in 20 minutes. Coleman, who had seven turnovers, scored nine points in 19 minutes. Perez and Stivrins finished with eight points each. Perez, though, missed all five of his 3-point attempts. D.J. Fenner was 1-of-6 from the floor (1-of-5 on threes) and finished with five points in 19 minutes.
Thurman ended up with 18 points and Marcus Tyus added 12 for the Mavericks.
The Wolf Pack also lost to Nebraska Omaha last season at Lawlor Events Center 82-80 on a layup by C.J. Carter with less than a second to play,. Jerry Evans had 24 points and Deonte Burton had 22 for the Pack last year against the Mavericks.
The Wolf Pack did a nice job defensively on the Mavericks top two scorers. Carter, who was averaging 19.3 points a game, scored just six points on 3-of-10 shooting and Devin Patterson, averaging 18.0 points a game, finished with 10 points. Patterson, though, also had nine assists and five steals.