Nevada erased a 14-point second-half deficit and made all six of their field goals in overtime as the No. 7-seed Wolf Pack landed a thrilling win over No. 10 Texas, 87-83.
Kendell Stephens led the way with 22 points for Nevada while Caleb Martin added 18 points, nine of which came in the overtime, to go along with 10 boards and five assists for the Wolf Pack, who won their first NCAA tournament game since 2007. They will advance to take on No. 2 seed Cincinnati in the second round on Sunday afternoon.
Matt Coleman led Texas with 25 point and four assists while Kerwin Roach II added 26. Mo Bamba had 13 points, 14 boards and three blocks, but he fouled out on the final possession of regulation on a questionable call, one that put Jordan Caroline on the free throw line to force OT.
Texas may have a legitimate beef when it comes to the calls that were made against Bamba. His last two fouls were questionable at best, and it meant that he was not on the floor in overtime. If we’re going to be fair, Bamba probably would not have helped against Caleb Martin when he’s making the shots that he made in the extra period, but he might have been able to help Texas keep pace.
But it is what it is.
We move on.
Next up, this Nevada team is going to be an interesting matchup for Cincinnati, who was one of just three teams in college basketball that were rated higher defensively than the Texas team that Nevada just put 87 points on. If you like teams that spread the floor, put the ball in their stars hands and let the talent make plays, you are going to love watching this Nevada group.
What they do best was on display in the second half.
It started with Stephens, who his four of his five threes in the second 20 minutes. Cody Martin, Caleb’s twin, added 15 points, six assists, four boards and four blocks during the comeback. When they get to making threes like they did in the second half, Nevada is a tough team to slow down, and Cincinnati may find out all about that on Sunday.