RENO, Nev. (AP) -- Off to its best start in 27 years, No. 20
Nevada saw a 22-point lead all but disappear before hanging on to
overcome poor free throw shooting and beat Louisiana-Lafayette
65-58 on Thursday night.
Nick Fazekas had 26 points and eight rebounds and reserve
Marcelus Kemp added 12 points for the Wolf Pack (10-1). They led
54-32 with 9:46 left, but made only 14 of 27 free throws and missed
seven in the final 1:22 to let the Ragin' Cajuns back in the game.
"We're not playing our best ball and we're not doing everything
right but we're finding ways to win and that's the bottom line,"
said Fazekas, who was 8-of-14 from the field, including 4-of-7 on
The last time Nevada started 10-1 was 1978-79, when the Wolf
Pack finished 21-7.
Point guard Ramon Sessions had 12 rebounds and seven assists for
the Wolf Pack, who are 34-4 at home over the last three seasons.
They made only three of their first 21 shots from the field and
shot only 27 percent overall in the first half but still led 28-22.
"We played extremely well for about 30 minutes then we got such
a big lead that we quit defending," Nevada coach Mark Fox said.
"They threw in some 3s and then we didn't play very smart the
last 3 or 4 minutes," he said.
Fox said his team was lucky the poor free throw shooting didn't
cost it the game.
"We missed a bunch of them late. We shut down once we got a big
lead and you can't do that against high-level basketball teams and
expect to win," he said.
Fazekas hit one of his four 3-pointers then fed Kyle Shiloh for
a breakaway layup to cap a 20-6 run to open the second half and put
Nevada ahead 48-28 with 11:26 left. He made his next two 3-point
attempts and added a basket inside to make it 56-35 at 8:53.
Maurice Barksdale hit a 3-pointer and Mitchell dunked off a
steal, tipped in a rebound and dunked again to cut the lead to
59-47 at 2:35.
Kemp made a 19-footer to make it 61-47 but the Cajuns' J.T.
Fields -- who finished with 12 points -- answered with his fourth
3-pointer of the half to pull within 61-50 at 1:32. Ross Mouton's
baseline bank shot made it 62-52 and after Lyndale Burleson missed
a free throw, Mitchell scored in the lane to make it 62-54 with 43
Shiloh made just one of four free throws and Burleson missed two
more after that before Mitchell made two to cut it to 63-56 with 17
seconds left. Fazekas was fouled on the inbounds pass and made two
Ragin' Cajuns coach Robert Lee said his team defended well early
but suffered from 31 percent shooting in the first half and 39
"In the first half we followed the game plan pretty well. We
wanted to slow the tempo down, which is a way we don't normally
like to play," he said. "The problem was, we did a good job of
slowing the tempo, but we just couldn't make shots.
"Nevada is probably the most complete team we've played all
year," Lee said. "They have two guys out on the perimeter in
Shiloh and (Mo) Charlo then they've got Fazekas and (Chad) Bell is
a big kid inside."