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Fazekas, Sessions too much down stretch for Akron

Dec 23, 2006 - 6:49 AM AKRON, Ohio (Ticker) -- Nick Fazekas and Ramon Sessions put their experience to good use against a pesky Akron squad.

Fazekas and Sessions combined for eight points in the final 3:18 of the contest to help No. 20 Nevada squeak out a 73-71 victory over Akron in a non-conference matchup.

After squandering an eight-point lead in the first half, the Wolf Pack (10-1) found themselves trailing, 57-51, after a free throw by Romeo Travis with 9:29 to play.

"We knew we would have our hands full coming in," Nevada coach Mark Fox.

Marcelus Kemp hit a jumper 30 seconds later and Fazekas sandwiched a layup and a jumper around a basket by the Zips' Nate Linhart to close Nevada within 59-57 with 7:19 remaining.

The Wolf Pack continued to trail until Sessions' layup with 6:49 left ignited an 8-0 run, making it 65-61 just over two minutes later.

Akron managed to close within one point when Nick Dials was fouled on a 3-point attempt by Kyle Shiloh and made all three free throws with 3:36 left. However, Fazekas added four free throws and Sessions two along with a layup down the stretch to lead Nevada to its third straight win.

Playing its first notable opponent of the season, Akron was once again unable to come up with a big win, a fact that is starting to bother coach Keith Dambrot.

"We haven't been able to play with the high majors," he said. "We stayed in it with Clemson and Creighton last year but those are just prestigious names and not top-level teams. We got beat convincingly by Cal and Louisville last year, and now Nevada. At least we now know we can play with the top-caliber schools."

Fazekas finished with 24 points and Sessions added 22 for the Wolf Pack, who shot 51 percent (26-of-51) from the field and converted 18-of-21 (86 percent) free throws.

A two-time Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year, Fazekas shot 10-of-17 from the field and grabbed 11 rebounds.

Dru Joyce scored 23 points, connecting on 5-of-6 3-pointers, for the Zips (7-3).

With Nevada having routed Akron, 88-61, in Reno last year, Fazekas was quite impressed with how the Zips used what they learned from that game to nearly pull the upset.

"Last year, they came out to our place and didn't play very well," he said. "They watched the tape of that game and were better prepared this time around. Akron isn't a bad team and they definitely got my respect after almost taking this one."

"We played completely different this year against Nevada," Dambrot said. "Last year we played slower and more to their pace, while this year we used our speed and quickness to our advantage. It threw them off guard and allowed us to almost take the game from them. I don't think they liked it and they really weren't able to fully guard us."

One of the biggest results of the Zips' up-tempo pace was a 21-0 advantage in bench points. Travis finished as the top reserve, scoring 11 points.