SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- Nevada was jet-lagged and apathetic,
seemingly looking for any reason to slip up in its regular season
finale -- until Nick Fazekas reminded his teammates that every game
counts toward NCAA tournament success.
Fazekas had 28 points and eight rebounds, and the 25th-ranked
Wolf Pack rallied from a big early deficit for their 10th straight
victory, 73-69 over San Jose State on Saturday.
Nevada (24-5, 16-2 Western Athletic Conference) felt much more
relief than elation after becoming the first team to go unbeaten on
the road in WAC play since Utah did it in 1999.
After clinching its second straight conference title in Hawaii
on Thursday night, Nevada had trouble getting up for its stopover
in San Jose on the way back to the conference tournament next week
in Reno, where the Wolf Pack will be the top seed.
But after Fazekas and the team leaders spoke up at halftime, the
powerful Pack perked up just enough to win again.
"Coming from paradise, it's tough," Fazekas said. "We won the
WAC title over there, and probably in a lot of our minds, it was
like, 'Well, what does this game really mean?' It means a lot. It
looks really good to the NCAA that we're 10-0 on the road in our
"It was a really bad game for us. Especially in the first half,
we couldn't play defense to save our lives."
Mo Charlo scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half for the
Wolf Pack, who are headed to the conference tournament on their
longest winning streak since the 1965-66 season. But Nevada trailed
by 15 points in the first half before recovering for a narrow win
over the WAC's last-place team.
Ramon Sessions had 11 points and seven assists for the Wolf
Pack, who know they'll need much better efforts to repeat last
season's NCAA tournament success. Nevada, ranked for the first time
in school history, reached the third round last season.
First-year coach Mark Fox will seize on this lackluster
performance in practice next week leading up to the tournaments.
"I did a terrible job getting them ready to play," Fox said.
"(But) we thought this would be a very difficult game, because of
our travel and because Marquin Chandler might be the most talented
player in the league. Playing him on his Senior Day, I thought,
would be tough."
Chandler scored 25 points in his final home game for the
Spartans (6-22, 3-15), and he converted a three-point play with
1:34 left to tie it at 66. But Fazekas made a difficult bank shot
and Charlo hit two free throws with 39.6 seconds left, helping
Nevada hold on for its sixth straight win over San Jose State.
"We made a big push, and there were just a few plays here and
there that we didn't get," Chandler said. "Everybody on my team
never gives up. That's one thing I stress to everybody."
Alex Elam had 16 points and eight assists before fouling out for
San Jose State, which finished the regular season with 10 straight
losses. Coach Phil Johnson is widely expected to leave after three
straight losing seasons, though no announcement is expected until
After one last loss, Johnson was in a reflective mood.
"Just walking and talking to my team, sure -- just thinking
about what we could have done differently during the season," he
said. "I'm sure tonight, I'll be thinking about what we could have
done differently during this game."
San Jose State took a 36-21 lead with 1:42 left in the half on
back-to-back 3-pointers by Elam. Chandler, Fazekas and Nevada's
Kevinn Pinkney were watched by eight NBA scouts, including
Sacramento Kings president of basketball operations Geoff Petrie.
Nevada then made a 15-2 run spanning halftime, taking the lead
on Fazekas' free throws with 11:18 to play -- but the Wolf Pack
never led by more than five points until the final seconds.
Fazekas, the conference's leading scorer, will wear a clear
protective mask for the rest of the season after breaking his nose
last week in a win at Fresno State. He scored 15 points in the
first half, but Charlo carried the Wolf Pack in the closing
"We didn't know what we were capable of (this season)," Charlo
said. "I don't think anybody did. We just dedicated ourselves to
playing our best in every game."