12:00 AM ET, February 14, 2006
Lawlor Events Center, Reno, Nevada
RENO, Nev. (AP) -- Nick Fazekas was held scoreless the first half and finished with only 12 points, but made the basket that mattered most for Nevada.Fazekas scored on a rebound with 1.3 seconds left to cap the Wolf Pack's rally from 11 points down to beat Louisiana Tech 50-49 to grab sole possession of first place in the Western Athletic Conference.The Wolf Pack (19-5, 9-3) trailed by one with 3.9 seconds left when they inbounded the ball underneath the basket. Marcelus Kemp caught the inbounds pass in the corner and launched a shot, but the Bulldogs' Paul Millsap partially blocked it.Fazekas caught the ball in front of the basket and banked it in for the go-ahead score. After a timeout, he deflected Louisiana Tech's inbound pass, sealing Nevada's sixth straight win."Coach told us to really crash the boards to try to get a tip. The ball came short and I was right there to tip it in," Fazekas said."We made something out of what was basically a broken play."Freshman Lyndale Burleson scored a career-high 12 points and Fazekas grabbed 15 rebounds for the Wolf Pack, who moved a game ahead of Louisiana Tech (15-10, 8-4) in the conference."It was one of those games you'd hate to see either team lose," Louisiana Tech coach Keith Richard said. "It was a defensive battle. Keeping them off the boards was a major emphasis and we lost the game on an offensive rebound."Millsap had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulldogs, who scored only 13 points the second half after leading 36-27 at halftime. They have lost seven in a row to Nevada dating to 2002-03.The two teams entered the game tied for the league lead, a game ahead of Utah State and Hawaii, which lost Monday night to Fresno State to drop to 7-5 in the conference."This race is far from over," said Nevada coach Mark Fox, whose team won at Louisiana Tech 65-53 on Feb. 2. "It was a big win because I guess you could say we have the tiebreaker over Louisiana Tech. But we have a lot more basketball ahead of us."Nevada hosts Akron in an ESPN Bracket Buster nonconference game Friday and still must travel to Utah State on Feb. 25.Monday's game featured a matchup between the WAC's two best big men. Millsap is leading the NCAA in rebounding for the third season in a row with 12.6 per game and also scoring 20.7 points per contest. Fazekas is averaging 21.7 points and 9.4 rebounds."The player of the year is something people talk about, but people don't remember who the player of the year was," Fazekas said."They remember the banner that hangs in the gym at the end of the year."Fox said he expected Fazekas to come through in the clutch after missing his first eight shots of the game."Nick's not just a scorer. He's a complete player. He rebounded the ball well and he defended well. He just couldn't get a shot to go down but he made the last play," Fox said.Trailing 41-30 with 12:43 left, Burleson hit a 3-pointer to start a 13-1 run that included seven straight points by Fazekas and a 3-pointer from the top of the key by Mo Charlo that put the Wolf Pack ahead 43-42 with 8:20 to go.Millsap scored inside to stop the run and Michael Wilds hit a 3-pointer to put the Bulldogs ahead 47-45 at 5:18.Kyle Shiloh made two free throws to tie it at 47 before Millsap answered with two free throws for a 49-47 Louisiana Tech lead with 3:36 to go. Fazekas made the front end of a one-and-one to pull to within 49-48 with 2:40 left and neither team scored again until Fazekas' basket at the end.Nevada shot only 30 percent from the field, but outrebounded Louisiana Tech 45-37. The Bulldogs shot 34 percent from the field and shot only 9-of-18 from the foul line.Fox said the Wolf Pack's defense was lacking in the first half."We made a point at the half of saying you are not going to make a 10-point basket. You're going to have to scratch and claw your way back. Fortunately, we were able to do that," he said.
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