Weber State accomplished its main mission but lost the war because of that very success Friday night in a Big Sky game at the Dee Center.
The Wildcats pretty much silenced Nevada's 18-points-a-game center Ric Herrin, except for three early baskets before Weber went to a 2-3 zone, but their ability to pack it in on Herrin forced Nevada to take three-pointers.They were Weber's downfall. Nevada hit 58 percent of those bombs, 62 percent the first half.
Somewhat appropriately, the Wolf Pack held on to win by three after losing most of a 12-point second-half margin. Gary Huskey's three free throws in the final :32 gave Nevada a 71-68 win, its fourth straight victory and second of the week on the road.
A Jason Joe three-pointer with :17 left cut Nevada's lead to 69-68, but after a Weber timeout, Huskey, who'd given the Pack 69 points with one of two free throws, raced the ball upcourt off an inbounds play until David Baldwin fouled him. Huskey made both free throws with :11 left for a 71-68 lead.
With only six fouls in the second half, the Pack had one to give and used it against Joe to make Weber take the ball out of bounds with :06 left.
Coach Denny Huston's play had Wildcat freshman Jimmy DeGraffenried, his best three-point shooter, as the first option, but the Pack figured that. "They just had the place I was going to covered," said DeGraffenried.
Nevada's plan was to make Weber dribble and not get a three-point attempt off.
Joe was the next - and final - 'Cat option for a three-pointer near the top of the key. His attempt hit the front of the rim at :00.
"I like those types of situations," said Joe, "but I was floating instead of going straight up."
Nevada Coach Len Stevens didn't like the situation, at least until it was over. "If that would have gone into overtime, I'd have been done," he said, holding a hand over his still-beating heart, Nevada's 75-72 overtime win at Boise Thursday still very fresh in his memory bank. "Jason almost knocked it down," Stevens said.
But Weber's problems really were in the first half when the Wildcats started stopping Herrin with David Baldwin fronting him and getting help in the zone, making Nevada go to the bomb. That got the Pack into a shooting streak.
"It has to be one or the other," said Wildcat Coach Denny Huston. "You stop Herrin, or you just go out there and get all their three-point shooters. The first half, we were too preoccupied, and they shot the ball very well."
Bryan Thomasson and Jerry Hogan hit three each from outside the line, and Matt Woilliams and Soares had one each the first half.
Weber got into a bombs-away contest in the first half, making five of 10 threes but ending the half down by five, 41-36.
"We might have taken some too early," said Weber freshman guard Elroy Miller, who's moved into a first-off-the-bench role the last two games, "but those shots were open. We might have taken too many too soon."