Jordan Caroline carried Nevada early and Caleb Martin stepped up in crunch time as the No. 6 Wolf Pack hung on to defeat the visiting Akron Zips 68-62 in Reno, Nev.
Akron whittled a nine-point, fourth-quarter deficit down to three with 1:12 to go when Martin struck from the top of the key with a 3 to put the Wolf Pack up 63-57.
Despite shooting just 7-for-18 from the field and being frustrated throughout much of the game, Martin notched a double-double with 19 points and 10 boards. He committed four turnovers but excelled on defense, blocking three shots.
Caroline also scored 19 points and provided most of the offense for the Wolf Pack (12-0) while the rest of the team struggled early.
The turning point came when Martin came out of nowhere to block Loren Jackson’s layup attempt and Caroline converted a layup-and-one to put Nevada up 47-39 at the midway point of the second half.
Jimond Ivey led Akron (7-5) with 15 points. Daniel Utomi added 14 points and 10 boards. Channel Banks scored 11 off the bench.
The Wolf Pack came in to the game averaging 83.8 points per game, but it was Akron that dictated the tempo most of the game. The Zips were allowing only 61.4 points per game.
Both offenses struggled the first 12 minutes of the game. Akron started to warm up and went ahead 17-11 on a 3-pointer by Utomi at the 6:40 mark of the first half.
Ivey connected on a 3 and Nevada found itself in familiar territory — trailing big in the first half.
The Wolf Pack missed their first 10 3-point attempts. Martin finally connected from beyond the arc at the 5:48 mark to pull Nevada within six at 20-14.
Martin hit another 3 and Caroline followed with a third straight long-range shot and the score was tied at 20-all.
Caroline led the Wolf Pack with 10 points in the first 20.
—Field Level Media