Nevada basketball hurdles first obstacle in Mountain West quarterfinals

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Fifth-seeded Nevada basketball defeated the fourth-seeded Boise State Broncos to advance to the Mountain West Championship semifinals. Despite the age and overall height difference between the two teams, Nevada managed to beat the Broncos in all three meetings this season. Unfortunately for the Broncos, this was the end of their 2020-21 season. Although there were a few close calls caused by errors on passing and transition offense, the Wolf Pack seemed to be outplaying Boise State at every turn both on offense and defense from beginning to end.

Nevada dominated for most of the first half with aggressive defense and a high three-point percentage at 69.2% (9-13). The Broncos seemed a little slow to get going in the first five minutes or so and by the time they had gotten out the pre-game jitters, Nevada had a steady lead and for the most part kept it for the rest of the game. Boise State was not being aggressive enough particularly on offense. Whenever any member of Boise’s offense felt too much pressure, they would almost always dump it to the next open man a bit prematurely.

In addition to a high three-point shooting percentage, Nevada basketball shot 56.3% (18-32) in field goals and 66.7% (6-9) on free throw attempts in the first half. While playing well on defense as a unit, junior guard Desmond Cambridge and sophomore guard Grant Sherfield scored a majority of Nevada’s points in the first half. The score at halftime was 51-45, Wolf Pack.

The second half was a bit more evenly matched and the Broncos even closed the deficit to only three points in the first five minutes of the half. However, Nevada began to heat up and keep the Broncos at bay with great shot selection, good transition offense and consistent pressure on defense. With only a couple minutes to go, Nevada made a few unforced errors that if the Broncos could have capitalized on them, the game could have been much closer and possibly even a loss. There were a few poor passes the resulted in two or three turnovers with only five minutes left that the Wolf Pack were able to salvage and ultimately win with a final score of 89-82.

The players that made a major impact in Nevada’s favor were Cambridge (31 points), Sherfield (26 points, 3 steals) and sophomore forward Warren Washington (18 points, 11 rebounds). Notable performances from the Broncos featured junior guard Devonaire Doutrive (17 points, 10 rebounds), redshirt senior Derrick Alston (16 points, 6 rebounds) and Emmanuel Akot (15 points).

The battle for the Mountain West Championship continues for Nevada basketball in its next game on March 12 against the first-seeded San Diego State Aztecs. Although the Wolf Pack are on a hot streak with back-to-back wins against both Colorado State and Boise State, the Aztecs will surely be the team to beat for all in the Mountain West Championship this week. Tune in to CBS Sports Network or ESPN Radio 94.5 FM at 9:30 p.m. ET to watch or listen to Nevada basketball take on San Diego State in the Mountain West Championship semifinals.

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