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Nevada sinks California to stay unbeaten

Dec 4, 2006 - 4:25 AM SAN JOSE, California (Ticker) -- Nevada isn't a one-man show after all.

Marcelus Kemp scored 20 points and Ramon Sessions added 19 as the 20th-ranked Wolf Pack withstood a big second-half comeback in a 77-71 victory over California in the Pete Newell Challenge.

Nevada improved to 7-0 for the first time since 1951 despite a subpar night from star forward Nick Fazekas, who was held to 12 points but did grab 14 rebounds.

"A very hard fought win for our team," Nevada coach Mark Fox said. "We played extremely well in the first half and then we knew that Cal would rally. They are an excellent team, well coached. They played extremely well to tie the ballgame, and then we showed a good poise down the stretch to pull out the win."

The two-time reigning Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year, Fazekas came in averaging 24.3 points. But he struggled throughout, shooting 6-of-16 from the floor and missing a pair of huge foul shots with Nevada clinging to a four-point lead with 1:21 to play.

Fox said Fazekas suffered a rib injury during the game which limited his effectiveness.

"Nick is struggling," Fox said. "He's a tough kid, but it's a difficult injury with your ribs when you have to play a game with your hands up. I'm not sure what it is, they are looking at him right now."

The Golden Bears trailed by as many as 18 points in the second half but used a 20-6 run to tie the score at 63-63 on Theo Robertson's 3-pointer with 5:17 remaining.

After the teams traded baskets, Sessions took over for the Wolf Pack, scoring the next eight points on two layups and four free throws to make it 73-65 with 21 seconds to play.

"My hats off to my teammates for getting me the ball in the right spots," Sessions said. "Coach always says that big leads never last in our games. Cal is a great team and they showed it tonight.

"We just had to lock up on defense at the end and we did."

Nevada seized control of the game in the latter stages of the first half.

Leading, 23-21, the Wolf Pack outscored the Golden Bears, 17-4, over the final eight minutes to take a 40-25 lead into the break.

Ayinde Ubake scored 20 points to lead Cal (6-2), which had its five-game winning streak snapped. DeVon Hardin added 14 points, including 12 in the second half.

"In the second half we came out and played Cal basketball," Ubake said. "We were attacking, rebounding and defending. They just went to their bread and butter (at the end). They just pounded the ball inside and got good shots."

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