Martin’s 3 lifts No. 10 Nevada over Boise State 72-71

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Nevada’s Cody Martin hadn’t hit a 3-pointer in a month, but that didn’t stop him from taking a huge shot when his team needed it.

Martin, last season’s Mountain West defensive player of the year, hit a contested 3-pointer with 4.5 seconds remaining to lift No. 10 Nevada over Boise State 72-71 on Tuesday night.

“The ball felt good when it left my hands,” Martin said after the game. “I couldn’t really see the rim, but we were working on contested shots before the game and that really helped me.”

Nevada, which led 40-31 at halftime, seemed to have the game on cruise control early in the second half, never allowing the Broncos to get any closer than seven points, but the Wolf Pack (17-1, 4-1) remained in constant foul trouble. Starters Trey Porter and Caleb Martin were on the bench with four fouls with just over nine minutes remaining in the game.

Boise State (8-9, 3-1) took its first lead of the second half at 69-68 with 2:10 remaining on two free throws by Alex Hobbs. Cody Martin then tied the game hitting one of two from the line with 1:52 left. Hobbs then answered with a layup 10 seconds later to give the Broncos a 71-69 advantage. Nevada, however, turned up its defensive intensity and stifled two subsequent Boise State possessions, setting up Martin’s game winner.

“Oh absolutely (this one hurt),” Boise State coach Leon Rice said. “You know, you played a great game to put yourself in the position to have a chance to beat them, and they made one more play than us.”

Martin, who finished with a team-high 16 points, entered the game shooting 19 percent from 3-point range and had only made eight all season.

“I know I put in the time and the work to take those shots and take them with confidence,” said Martin, whose twin brother Caleb is averaging 19.1 points per game for the Wolf Pack. “When the play broke down, I saw an opening and I just took it.”

When asked after the game when was the last time he took a shot with the game on the line while playing with his brother, Cody replied, “Probably a pickup game sometime.”

Jordan Caroline added 15 and grabbed 13 rebounds for Nevada while Porter added 12.

Hobbs and Jessup paced Boise State with 19 and 17 points, respectively.

BIG PICTURE

Nevada: The Wolf Pack knocked off a Mountain West co-leader for the second straight game on the road as they continue to right the ship after a 27-point loss on the road to New Mexico earlier this month. The hard-fought victory over the Broncos also serves as further proof that Nevada remains the team to beat in the conference.

Boise State: The Broncos continue to search for the consistency they need to prove they are serious contenders in the conference this season. Long spells of poor shooting and lackadaisical defense have doomed Boise State this season against stronger competition. And if the Broncos have any aspirations of making noise in the Mountain West, they need to find a better rhythm and quickly.

BETTER THAN THE PAC-12?

While the Mountain West struggled in non-conference games to start the same, Musselman was surprised after playing several of the league’s better teams to start league play.

“I’ve been shocked at our whole league at the non-conference record,” Musselman said. “We’re playing these team and they’re really good teams. They’re Pac-12 good_better than Pac-12.

“We have good talent with teams that can score and teams with some size. … We’re playing at a high level and Boise State is playing at a high level. If Boise State is in the PAC-12, they’re winning a lot of games.”

UP NEXT

Nevada returns home to host Air Force on Saturday.

Boise State hosts Fresno State on Saturday.