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Nevada struggles past San Jose State

Feb 15, 2007 - 8:30 AM RENO, Nevada (Ticker) -- Nevada played to the level of its competition and it almost resulted in a huge upset.

Nick Fazekas scored 20 points and the 10th-ranked Wolf Pack struggled most of the way before putting away San Jose State, 68-60, in a Western Athletic Conference game.

Nevada (23-2, 11-1 WAC) trailed at halftime and led by just two points with 6 1/2 minutes to play before securing its sixth consecutive victory and 10th in a row at home.

"We did a decent job tonight," Fazekas said. "We won so that is what matters. We got win number 23."

Seeking their fourth straight WAC regular-season title, the Wolf Pack had a surprisingly tough time breaking away from San Jose (4-21, 3-10), a team they defeated on the road, 72-63, without an injured Fazekas on January 11.

The Spartans shot 54 percent in taking a 31-29 halftime lead, but Nevada stormed out of the gate after the break, scoring the first nine points and extending the margin to 51-39 with 13:45 left.

Fazekas, the two-time WAC Player of the Year, scored six points in the spurt while the Wolf Pack hit four 3-pointers, including two by Kyle Shiloh.

San Jose refused to wilt and closed within 58-56 on a 3-pointer by Tim Pierce with 6:49 left.

"We were a reflection of our coach - we were awful," Nevada coach Mark Fox said. "No disrespect to San Jose, I didn't coach well. We were never in a rhythm. We didn't rebound well and I'm not sure what we were thinking."

Fazekas answered with a jumper and later added another for a 64-58 lead with 2 1/2 minutes left as the Spartans managed just four points in the final 6 1/2 minutes.

The win marked a milestone for the Wolf Pack seniors, who won their 100th game in their four years.

"It means a lot to me and it means a lot to the program," Fazekas said. "I am happy to be a part of this program."

Shiloh, another senior, added 14 points for Nevada, which shot 54.5 percent (24-of-44) from the field.

"He's a senior and he's so underappreciated," Fox said of Shiloh. "He is a complete player and is an important part of our team."

Pierce scored 20 for the Spartans, who shot 52 percent (28-of-54) but had just two free-throw attempts, missing both.

"We had an opportunity to win but we didn't get in done," San Jose State coach George Nessman said. "We were unable to get to the free-throw line and it really hurt us. You can't win with two free-throw attempts."