FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Caleb Martin scored 27 points, including two free throws with 54.6 seconds remaining, and No. 10 Nevada held on to beat Fresno State 74-64 on Saturday night.
Martin also added nine rebounds, and Jordan Caroline had 19 points and 16 rebounds for the Wolfpack (16-1, 3-1 Mountain West), who have won two straight since losing at unranked New Mexico on Jan. 5.
Braxton Huggins scored 25 points for Fresno State (12-4, 3-1). Deshon Taylor had 16 points and Nate Grimes added 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Nevada overcame a rocky start and led the entire second half, getting a big night from Martin. He scored 15 points in the second half, including seven straight during one stretch.
Caroline helped with his 10th double-double this season but it was the big man’s defense that was most important. Caroline made a come-from-behind steal that led to 3-pointer by Jazz Johnson after Fresno State had closed within 58-52. He later blocked a shot to stop another Bulldogs’ run and added a pair of put-back dunks.
Caroline moved past Malik Story into 10th place on Nevada’s career scoring list with 1,493 points.
Fresno State lost for the second time in 12 games despite a big night by Huggins. The Bulldogs have lost 21 straight against Top 25 teams.
The teams came out shooting wildly beyond the arc before settling down.
Caroline, who missed his first three shots, got Fresno State going when he scored seven points in an 11-2 run.
After DeShon Taylor made back-to-back 3-pointers and a free throw that put the Bulldogs up by one, Caleb Martin made two free throws and a deep 3-pointer to help Nevada take a 37-32 halftime lead.
Nevada: The Wolfpack struggled beyond the arc in the first half, and then turned things around by repeatedly driving the lane in the second half. They also got a big lift defensively, which keyed the offense to easy buckets. Caroline’s work on the boards and defensively were huge, but Martin made shot-after-shot when Nevada needed it.
Fresno State: The Bulldogs have nothing to feel bad about. They played Nevada tight and were within six points with 2 ½ minutes left. They didn’t close and saw their three-game conference winning streak end, but this is a team that should make some noise in the MWC the rest of the way.
Nevada: At Boise State on Jan. 15.
Fresno State: The Bulldogs get six days off before traveling to play at Boise State on Jan. 19.