No. 20 Nevada gets past Colorado State, earns league title
RENO, Nev. (AP) With his team struggling from the field and the chance to wrap up the No. 1 seed in the Mountain West tournament on the line, Caleb Martin took over for No. 20 Nevada.
Martin scored 25 points, including two key 3-pointers in the second half, and No. 20 Nevada clinched the top seed in the conference tourney with a 92-83 victory over Colorado State on Sunday.
Jordan Caroline had 21 points and 14 rebounds and Cody Martin, Caleb’s twin brother, had 17 points and 11 assists for the Wolf Pack (25-5, 14-2 Mountain West), which clinched at least a share of the regular-season championship for the second consecutive year. Nevada has road games against UNLV and San Diego State remaining, but has a two-game lead over second-place Boise State and holds the tiebreaker over the Broncos.
Prentiss Nixon had 27 points and 10 rebounds for Colorado State (11-19, 4-13). Anthony Bonner added 19 points and Nico Carvarcho had 13 points and 14 rebounds for the Rams, who kept the game tight until the waning moments.
Colorado State led 52-49 on a 3-pointer by Nixon with 14:53 remaining, but Caleb Martin hit a 3-pointer to tie it at 52. The shot sparked a 14-5 run, and the Wolf Pack never trailed again. He also hit back to back 3-pointers in the final three minutes that sealed the victory.
”I thought those were really, really big baskets,” Nevada coach Eric Musselman said. ”I think we also did a good job of attacking the rim in the second half.”
Nevada led 40-38 at halftime. The Wolf Pack struggled from the field for much of the game, hitting 33 of 77 shots (42.9 percent), including 10 of 27 3-pointers (37 percent). Colorado State hit 29 of 62 shots (46.8 percent) and was 13 of 32 (40.6 percent) on 3-pointers.
The Rams out-rebounded the Wolf Pack 21-12 in the first half, but ended with a 43-42 edge as Nevada had a 30-22 advantage in the second half.
”It wasn’t one of our better performances,” Musselman said. ”Give Colorado State credit. I thought they played really hard. The second half, as it wore on, we did a much better job rebounding the basketball.”
Nevada overcame first-half shooting woes to score 52 points in the second half and put away a persistent Colorado State team. The Wolf Pack also forced the Rams into 17 turnovers.
Colorado State hosts New Mexico on Wednesday in its final regular-season game.
Nevada closes out the regular season with road games against UNLV on Wednesday and San Diego State on Saturday.
More AP college basketball: https://collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25