Grades: Pack shows the makings of a remarkable March

Nevada’s men’s basketball team posted an 84-63 win at San Jose State on Feb. 23, 2024.

Nevada’s men’s basketball team posted an 84-63 win at San Jose State on Feb. 23, 2024.
Nevada Athletics

Grading the Nevada Wolf Pack’s 84-63 men’s basketball victory over the San Jose State Spartans at San Jose on Friday:



Lucas taught his teammates a very valuable lesson. That lesson was simple: When you get a team down, keep throwing dirt on their grave. That is exactly what Lucas did on Friday, scoring 11 points in the final 7:17 as the Wolf Pack ran away with what turned out to be an easy win.

Lucas finished with 20 points in just 24 minutes, connecting on 7-of-12 shots for one of his most efficient performances of the season. He went to the bench after picking up his third foul with 13:37 to go and the Pack up 46-42. When he stepped back on the court five-plus minutes later the Pack was up comfortably 61-48.

Lucas, though, then buried the Spartans by going 3-for-3 from the floor and 4-of-4 from the line in the final seven-plus minutes. That never-let-them-up-for-air mentality Lucas showed down the stretch will serve the Pack well the rest of the year.


Blackshear had to put his pride (and his jump shot) in his back pocket on Friday and put the team first. The veteran did just that, playing the role of a pass-first point guard to help the Pack pull away.

He finished with nine assists, five in a span of just six-plus minutes in the middle of the second half as the Pack turned a 49-42 lead into a 69-51 advantage with 5:47 to play. The nine assists are his most since he had 11 against Portland on Nov. 18.

Seven of Blackshear’s nine assists came in the second half (he didn’t take a single shot in the second half after a frustrating first half). Blackshear, who had just four points for the game, was 2-of-9 from the floor, all in the first half. He also turned the ball over four times in the first half and missed seven-of-eight shots over the final 10 minutes.

The four points are his lowest scoring output since he also had four in the NCAA Tournament last year against Arizona State.


Davidson simply dominated the paint, scoring a game-high 23 points, mainly on six layups, five free throws as well as leading everyone with 15 rebounds, five on the offensive end.

It was yet another superlative performance on the part of the 6-8 sophomore, at streak which started eight games ago with 22 points and 11 rebounds against San Jose State in Reno on Feb. 2.

He now has six double-doubles this season, four of which have come over the last eight games. The only negative attached to his performance Friday was a career-high four turnovers, two of which came on offensive fouls.

Davidson had 16 of his 23 points on Friday in the second half. He was still on the floor, for some reason, with under a minute to play in a blowout when his offensive rebound led to two more points from the free throw line.

Davidson also had two more threes and is now 4-of-6 from beyond the arc over his last two games after going 0-for-9 over three games. Davidson was also 8-for-9 from the floor Friday for his best shooting performance (when’s he’s taken at least three shots in a game) of his two-year career.


Coleman played a brilliant game, scoring 12 points with nine rebounds, eight assists and a steal, narrowly missing a rare triple double. He also didn’t turn the ball over or commit a foul in a flawless performance over 35 minutes.

Coleman took just two shots in the second half, draining a pair of threes for leads of 40-33 (18:27 left) and 61-48 (8:28). His eight assists are his most since he had nine last season (Jan. 23, 2023) against New Mexico and his nine rebounds are his most since he also had nine against Washington in the second game this season Nov. 12.

Coleman had a pair of offensive rebounds in the first half which led to his assists on Pack baskets. His lone steal led to a Nick Davidson and a 48-42 lead with 13:12 to play.

Coleman, 5-of-9 from the floor and 2-of-4 on threes, has now shot 50 percent or better on field goals and 3-pointers in the same game in four of his last six games.


If you had trouble parking your car and arrived late at the arena Friday you missed almost all of Hymes’ contributions to this Pack victory. The 6-10 sixth-year center had all four of his points and one of his three rebounds in the game’s first 85 seconds.

He then spent the rest of the game missing a layup and two free throws, turning the ball over twice and getting called for three fouls. Hymes was able to stay on the floor for just 11 minutes. He did not play in the final 10 minutes of either the first or second half.



The 6-foot-3 McIntosh exploded into a dynamic offensive force Friday with 18 points on six 3-pointers in 26 minutes. McIntosh was 6-of-9 on threes with two assists and a steal and was one of the biggest reasons the Pack was able to pull away.

McIntosh had four threes over eight-plus minutes in the second half, helping to turn a nervous 48-42 lead with a dozen minutes to play into a 77-61 laugher with 3:47 to play. He also assisted on a Tre Coleman 3-pointer during that stretch.

The 18 points are his most since he also had 18 against Fresno Pacific on Dec. 30 and the first time he was in double digits offensively since he had 11 against Fresno on Jan. 6.

This is the type of performance the Wolf Pack needs from McIntosh if they are going to make any type of run in the Mountain West and NCAA tournaments next month. McIntosh, a transfer from Elon before last season, had five or fewer points in 11 of his 12 previous games before Friday.


Daniel Foster simply didn’t allow the coaches to take him off the floor when it mattered most on Friday. The Pack’s sixth man played 27 minutes against the Spartans, including the final 16:22 in the second half.

The 6-6 Foster provided 10 rebounds, three points and an assist and made sure the Pack was efficient on offense and defense when he was on the floor.

The Pack outscored San Jose State 62-39 when Foster wasn’t on the bench.


Rolison, a 6-foot freshman, was on the floor for just nine minutes and missed two threes with a foul and an assist. He played just 3:27 early in the second half an sat the bench for the final 15 minutes.

TYLAN POPE: Incomplete

Pope played just three minutes and had two rebounds.


Steve Alford knows a good thing when he sees it.

The Pack coach expertly rode the hot hands Friday, giving Hunter McIntosh the most minutes (26) he’s had in his two-year Pack career and keeping Daniel Foster on the floor for the final 16-plus minutes of the game.

Who said Alford can’t adjust his rotations when the game dictates it?

The Pack struggled to shake the Spartans for the first 25 or so minutes of the game, finding itself in a strange 42-42 tie on the road in a near-empty gym (just 2,117 fans bought a ticket) against one of the worst teams (the Spartans are just 9-19, 2-13) in the country.

But Alford didn’t panic and kept the faith and the Pack went on a 42-21 run over the final 15 minutes with McIntosh and Foster playing an important role. Alford also likely had a huge hand in making sure Blackshear focused on passing the ball in the second half instead of forcing up bad shots.


Yes, the Pack was a bit sluggish and seemingly disinterested over the first 25 minutes. But it’s not always so easy to get pumped up and excited in an empty gym against a team you know you can beat.

Make no mistake, there were a ton of great things to come out of this victory. The best thing to take place was that most everyone who stepped on the floor found a way to excel.

Davidson dominated, Lucas was efficient, Coleman was brilliant all over the floor, McIntosh finally rediscovered his jumper, Foster was Dennis Rodman on the boards and Blackshear played under control and was the ultimate teammate.

This is how the Pack can put together a remarkable March.


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