Nevada outlasts Boise State for overtime win
Special to The Union
RENO, Nev. – The Nevada Wolf Pack Men’s basketball team improved to 15-9 overall and 7-4 in the Western Athletic Conference with an 88-80 overtime victory over visiting Boise State Saturday night at Reno’s Lawlor Events Center.
Sophomore Luke Babbitt led the way with 27 points overcoming a slow start with 14 points in the second half plus eight more in overtime.
Boise State came out the aggressor and controlled the game early shooting 49% in the first half compared to 34% for Nevada taking a 34-28 lead at the intermission.
“They came out and hit us in the mouth in the first half. I think we were kind of surprised by that, they knocked us on our heels but we fought back and got the win,” Nevada point guard Armon Johnson said after the game. Nevada didn’t even get their first lead until a Dario Hunt layup with 13:54 remaining in the 2nd half put Nevada up 44-43.
The Wolf Pack’s fate still appeared in doubt however as 6’9″senior forward Ike Okoye had a monster game for the Broncos pulling down a game high 14 rebounds and scoring 32 points including 20 in the second half seeming to have his way every time Nevada made a run drawing groans from the 7,598 fans in attendance. But a layup with 3:09 left in regulation proved to be his final field goal.
Babbitt, Joey Shaw and Armon Johnson kicked it into high gear from there combining to score the Wolf Pack’s final 29 points to preserve the win for Nevada. Johnson added 24 points and 7 assists, Joey Shaw played a very solid game netting 16 points and pulling down 12 rebounds. Boise State received 18 points from Daequon Montreal and 11 more from Kurt Cunningham.
Nevada’s home record improves to 10-1 this season and will host Fresno State Wednesday night before hitting the road to participate in an ESPNU Bracketbusters contest at Misouri State February 20th. Boise State falls to 11-14 overall and returns home to face Ca. State Bakersfield before resuming their conference schedule which finds them only 2-10 and the basement of the Western Athletic Conference.
Notes: Former Wolf Pack standout and current member of the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves, Ramon Sessions was honored prior to the game as Athletic Director Cary Groth presented him with his #11 jersey giving him the “senior night” ceremony he never had since leaving Nevada for the NBA after his junior year.
Sessions started 94 of 97 games during his three years at Nevada helping the Wolf Pack to WAC regular season championships and NCAA tournament appearances in each of his three years. Sessions was selected as the Western Athletic Conference freshman of the year in 2005,
The 6’3″ point guard led Nevada in assists each of his three seasons with the Pack ending his career with 478 and second all time in assists for Nevada. He was selected in the second round of the 2007 NBA draft by the Milwaukee Bucks playing his first two years there before signing a four year contract with the Timberwolves this past offseason.
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