EditorsNote: update 2: adds new second and third grafs with Drew injury update
Senior guard Kendall Stephens made six 3-pointers while scoring 21 points, and junior forward Jordan Caroline made the tiebreaking free throws to help No. 24 Nevada register a 77-72 victory over Boise State on Wednesday in Mountain West play at Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho.
The win proved costly, though, as Nevada lost junior guard Lindsey Drew to a season-ending foot injury at the end of the first half.
Drew, who was hurt while missing a desperation 65-foot shot at the buzzer, was on crutches after the game. Coach Eric Musselman later told the Reno Gazette-Journal that Drew sustained a torn Achilles, leaving the Wolf Pack with just seven scholarship players.
Caleb Martin also scored 21 points as Nevada (22-5, 11-2 MW) moved 1 1/2 games ahead of the Broncos in the conference race. Caroline added 13 points and 10 rebounds, and junior forward Cody Martin scored 11 points for the Wolf Pack.
Senior guard Lexus Williams scored 15 points and senior forward Chris Sengfelder added 14 for Boise State (20-6, 10-4), which had a 13-game home winning streak halted. Senior wing Chandler Hutchison scored 13 points on just 4-of-14 shooting, sophomore guard Justinian Jessup added 12 points, and junior forward Zach Haney tallied 10.
Boise State was just 5 of 26 from 3-point range while shooting 40 percent overall. Nevada shot 48.3 percent from the field and was 7 of 16 from 3-point range.
“Our guys did a great job taking care of the basketball, that was one of the concerns after Lindsey’s injury,” Musselman said in a postgame interview on ESPNU. “Defensively, we did a great job on Chandler Hutchison, and we talked about him over and over and over about eliminating his good looks.”
Caroline connected on two free throws with 38.9 seconds left to give the Wolf Pack a 74-72 lead.
Hutchison missed an 8-footer in the lane and a 3-pointer on Boise State’s following possession before Cody Martin hit two free throws with 10 seconds left to increase the margin to four. The Wolf Pack forced a five-second inbound violation before Stephens split two free throws with 7.8 seconds remaining.
Caleb Martin played through a left foot injury for the second straight contest.
Stephens hit a 3-pointer to give Nevada a 61-59 advantage with 8:33 remaining before the Broncos scored the next five points to take a three-point edge. The Wolf Pack eventually took a 72-69 lead on Caleb Martin’s basket with 2:31 to play before Jessup buried a tying 3-pointer with 2:05 remaining.
Stephens was 4 of 4 from 3-point range in the first half as his 12 points helped the Wolf Pack take a 37-34 lead into the break.
—Field Level Media