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Utah State men's basketball will make its fourth consecutive trip to the Mountain West Quarterfinals, facing No. 1 Nevada on Thursday at 1 p.m. (MT)
Nevada won the regular season Mountain West title with a conference mark of 14-4, including a loss to Utah State on Feb. 1, 74-57. Overall, the Wolf Pack finished the regular season 25-6 and on a six-game winning streak.
Nevada averages 79.8 points per game and shoots 44.8 percent (828-of-1,847) from the floor, 38.6 percent (286-of-740) from behind the 3-point line and 70.0 percent (532-of-760) at the free throw line. Senior guard Marcus Marshalls is one of four members of the Wolf Pack averaging in double figures with a team-best 19.7 points per game, followed by sophomore forward Cameron Oliver (15.7 ppg), senior guard D.J. Fenner (14.6 ppg) and sophomore wing Jordan Caroline (14.5). Sophomore guard Lindsey Drew directs the Nevada offense and leads the team with 149 assists on the year, averaging 4.8 per game. Caroline paces the team on the glass, averaging 9.2 rebounds per contest.
Defensively, teams are scoring 71.0 points per game against the Wolf Pack and shooting 42.6 percent (814-of-1,911) from the floor, 30.5 percent (203-of-666) from behind the 3-point line and 68.6 percent (369-of-538) at the free throw line. Caroline leads the team with 1.2 steals per game and Oliver leads Nevada with 81 blocks, averaging 2.6 per game.
Last Time Against Nevada
RENO, Nev. - Utah State men's basketball lost 77-66 to Nevada on Feb. 22 at the Lawlor Events Center.
Senior wing Jalen Moore scored 19 points to pass Eric Franson (1991, 94-96) for No. 10 spot on the all-time scoring list with 1,546 career points. Moore also had four rebounds and one assist.
Sophomore forward Norbert Janicek had a career-high 16 points, along with five boards, one assist and one steal. Utah State's bench outscored Nevada's 16-8, with junior guard Julion Pearre leading the way with eight points to go along with one rebound, one assist, one block and one steal. Freshman guard Sam Merrill led the Aggies with five assists, and also had three points, two rebounds and a steal.
Last Time Against Nevada at Home
LOGAN, Utah - Freshman Koby McEwen provided the offense for Utah State and fellow freshman Sam Merrill played lock-down defense on the Mountain West's leading scorer, helping the Aggies defeat league-leading Nevada, 74-57, on Feb. 1, at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
McEwen scored a game-high 26 points, including 19 in the second half alone, to go along with six rebounds, as Utah State snapped the Wolf Pack's two-game winning streak.
Merrill added 13 points, five rebounds and four assists, but it was his presence on the defensive end of the court that paid huge dividends for the Aggies. The native of Bountiful, Utah, was given the task of defending Nevada's Marcus Marshall, who came into the game averaging a MW-best 21.1 points per game. However, he finished with a season-low two points - the first time he's been held under double figures this season - on 1-of-12 shooting from the field.
Last Time Against Nevada in a Conference Tournament
Utah State posted a 72-62 victory over Nevada to capture the 2009 WAC Championship.
Gary Wilkinson led the Aggies with 21 points and Tai Wesley and Jared Quayle each logged a double-double of 14 points/11 rebounds and 15 points/10 rebounds, respectively.
The Aggies shot 50.0 percent (25-of-50) from the floor, 36.4 percent (4-of-11) from behind the 3-point line and 69.2 percent (18-of-26) at the free throw line. Nevada finished the game shooting 30.6 percent (22-of-72) from the floor, 42.1 percent (8-of-19) from behind the 3-point line and 100.0 percent (10-of-10) at the free throw line.
Utah State is 4-1 all-time against Nevada in post-season tournaments, losing its only game to the Wolf Pack in the championship game of the 2006 WAC Tournament.
With a victory, Utah State will advance to the Mountain West semifinals for the first time in school history and face the winner of the Fresno State/New Mexico game on Friday at 8 p.m. (MT).
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