Nevada 3-point barrage sends 'Dogs to conference-opening loss

Courtesy: Fresno State Media Relations

FRESNO, Calif. --- The Fresno State men's basketball team suffered an 80-65 loss to the Nevada Wolf Pack on Wednesday night inside the Save Mart Center.
 
Fresno State (10-4, 0-1 Mountain West), who entered the game having won more conference home games than any other MW team during the previous three seasons, struggled to contain the Wolf Pack's  high-octane offense.
 
Nevada (12-3, 1-0 MW) was led by Caleb Martin, who had 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Kendall Stephens (19 points, 5-for-7 3FGA).
 
How it happened: Nevada led wire-to-wire in handing the Bulldogs their biggest home loss since falling 77-62 to New Mexico in its 2016 MW home opener – a season Fresno State would later rally down the stretch, winning the 2016 MW Tournament to earn the league's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
 
The Wolf Pack jumped out to an early 11-4 lead and led by as many as 17 while outplaying the Bulldogs on both ends of the floor, especially taking advantage of Fresno State's inability stop the Pack on the perimeter.  Nevada shot a relentless 58.8 percent (10-for-17) from beyond the 3-point arc and outscored Fresno State 19-9 in points off turnovers.  The Pack also outpaced the 'Dogs 10-0 in transition.
 
The Bulldogs, who didn't record a steal in the game, cut the Wolf Pack lead to one point twice, but couldn't match the Wolf Pack's execution.
 
Fresno State junior guard Deshon Taylor finished with 16 points and Bryson Williams added 11 points, the only other Bulldog to score in double-figures.
 
Player Notes
Deshon Taylor – 16 points, 3 rebounds
The junior guard scored in double-figures for the 13th time this season (29th time in his career) … led Fresno State in scoring for the 11th time this season with a team-high 16 points … played 30 minutes.
 
Jahmel Taylor – 8 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block
The senior guard tied his season-high with seven rebounds … recorded a new season-high with one block (tying his career-high) … played 28 minutes.
 
Bryson Williams – 11 points, 3 rebounds, 1 block
The sophomore forward scored in double-figures for the 11th time this season (23rd time in his career) … was 5-for-6 from the field … played 26 minutes.
 
Quotes:
Rodney Terry, Fresno State head coach
"We didn't have great ball movement tonight. The ball stuck and you can't have the ball stick against a switching defense and a team that has length. The ball has got to move. There has to be player movement and a good pace. We didn't have that tonight from an offensive standpoint."
 
On Nevada shooting 10-for-17 from beyond the 3-pt. arc…
"They have guys who can make shots. They have good players on their side in terms of the guys that they put out on the floor. The Martin brothers are really good players, they cause a lot of mismatch plays around the perimeter. Then you have a high level shooter like Stephens get a few looks and you can't let him in. The biggest thing was that we didn't stay in front of the ball and guard the way we needed to from a defensive standpoint."
 
On not getting any steals tonight…
"We didn't have any steals in 40 minutes of play tonight. We have to play better defensively. We didn't play as good as we could have against a really good offensive team. We didn't work the game for 40 minutes. We give those guys a lot of credit for the way they play. They executed what they came in to do in terms of their game plan."
 
On Jaron Hopkins returning from injury…
"We knew he was going to come in and be a little rusty – he hadn't played in three weeks. The biggest thing I tried to emphasize to him was to keep the game simple. Come in and make simple plays, play really hard on defense, get lost on that end of the floor and let everything else just come to him. Any time you bring a new player back in to the fold, it is going to take some time to get back on the same page. We have got to play better than we did tonight. We will give Nevada credit for the way they played and the way they came in here and did what they had to do."
 
On facing Air Force on Saturday…
"It is one game. Whether you win or you lose, you obviously only have it for one night. We have to regroup and get ready to play one of the more difficult teams to guard in our league. We have to come back and get back to work. We have to play harder on defense and be better defensively. It is what we have to do."
 
Up Next: Fresno State will host Air Force on Saturday at 4 p.m. PT.  Tickets start at $15 through www.Ticketmaster.com and the Save Mart Center Box Office, with free admission available for fans with a ticket from the Bulldogs' Dec. 16 game vs. Oregon by showing the ticket starting Thursday at the SMC Box Office (supplies are limited).
 
A limited number of single-game center section lower bowl tickets (Sections 109, 110, 122 and 123) are also available for $40.


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