The Nevada Wolf Pack will travel to San Jose to conclude its home-road back-to-back two-game set against the San Jose State Spartans on Thursday, Feb. 17 at 9 p.m. PST. The game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.
Nevada downed the Spartans Tuesday 81-72 behind 23 points from Nevada center Will Baker, his second-highest scoring total of the season — scoring 10 of the team’s final 17 points. Baker is its only starting center with starting center Warren Washington out with a hand injury.
The Wolf Pack, 11-13 and 5-8 in Mountain West play, have won 10 of its last 11 and 35 of their last 38 against SJSU, who’s lost its last 13 games (all MWC games) and sits at 7-18 overall.
Can Nevada, who’s in the midst of its first two-game win streak in two months, widen its win streak to three on Thursday on the road? Let’s dive into the matchup and find out!
When: Thursday, Feb. 17 at 9:00 p.m. PT
Where: Provident Credit Union Event Center in San Jose, Calif.
TV/Online: CBS Sports Network || https://www.cbssports.com/cbs-sports-network/
Spread: Nevada -8
Money line: Nevada -350, SJSU +290
Last Meeting: Nevada won 81-72
Matchup History: Nevada leads 62-49
Despite featuring the conference’s second-worst offense (100.5 ORTG, 222nd nationally) per KenPom, the Spartans lead the Mountain West in 3-point makes per game (9.4) and second in 3-point percentage (36.4), trailing only Colorado State, who’s shooting 37.3 percent from deep on the season.
The offense is spearheaded by San Jose State guard Omari Moore, who tops the team in scoring (13.3 ppg), rebounding (5.3 rpg) and assists (4.6), shooting 47.6 percent from the floor and 46.6 percent from deep on 2.4 triple tries per game.
Moore, their only double figure scorer, led the Spartans with 22 points on Tuesday, knocking down eight of his 15 attempts and four of his seven shots from distance, in addition to his six rebounds, four assists and one steal.
Tibet Gorener, the team’s fifth best scorer (8.1 ppg), had arguably his best performance in Mountain West play against Nevada — adding 14 points with four 3s (on 11 attempts). Trey Anderson (9.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 45.3 3P%), Trey Smith (8.8 ppg) and MJ Amey (8.6 ppg, 41.4 3P%) will also contribute in the scoring column for the Spartans.
Amey has provided the most notable scoring punch of late. Though he totaled just eight points on Tuesday, Amey has posted double figure scoring outings in five of his last seven outings, averaging 13.9 points and 5.4 rebounds on 42.9 percent shooting from deep over that span.
The Wolf Pack are led by their backcourt duo of Grant Sherfield and Desmond Cambridge, who’ve recently re-kindled their stout play.
Sherfield’s averaging a team-most 18.4 points, while Cambridge isn’t much further behind at 16.9 points per game. The Pack’s 6-foot-2 point guard is dishing out a team-most 6.3 assists and is the second player in the country — along with Wyoming’s Hunter Maldonado — to be averaging at least 18 points and six assists per game.
He posted a 21 point-eight assist outing against the Spartans on Tuesday, his third game back from injury (foot infection). Cambridge has lit the nylon on fire of late, averaging 25.7 points on 62.8/65.4/75.0 shooting splits over his last three games — albeit the small sample, of course.
The dynamic 6-foot-4 shot maker is shooting 44.0 percent on the season, including 37.2 percent from beyond the arc and 70.8 percent from the free-throw line. He also adds 5.4 rebounds — tied for third-most on team — in addition to team highs in steals (1.7 spg) and blocks (1.3 bpg).
The Spartans gave the Pack their best punch throughout the game’s first 33 minutes of Tuesday’s match before Nevada gauged a 17-7 run over the final 6:25 to ice it. Nevada did a poor job rebounding (nine rebounds, minus-11) in the first half, but did a better job collectively in the second half (plus-6). SJSU also buried 14 3s, tying the third-most it’s made in a single game this season. I expect that number to regress towards the mean, as I expect the Wolf Pack to play a more well-rounded, complete performance and cover the eight-point spread this time around after failing to cover the 15-points on Tuesday. Nevada 74, San Jose State 61 (Season record: 17-7)