Early second-half run sparks No. 21 Nevada past Pacific

RENO, Nev. (AP) -- Nevada's making a habit of rallying in the second half to win.

The 25th-ranked Wolf Pack's shooting the first half was as cold as the Sierra snowstorm outside, but Marcelus Kemp scored 14 of his 19 points in the second half and helped spark an 18-2 run to beat Pacific 60-53 Saturday night.

Kemp made 4-of-8 from 3-point range and Nick Fazekas added 13 points and 10 rebounds for Nevada (9-1), which held Pacific scoreless over a 4-minute stretch early in the second half.

Steffan Johnson scored 13 points and Solomon HorseChief and Anthony Brown had 10 each for the Tigers (3-8), who have lost four in a row and seven of their last eight.

The game started 10 minutes late because the officials were delayed in the storm that dumped more than a half-foot of snow and restricted travel on highways. More than 10,000 tickets were sold for the game, but only 5,250 fans attended.

Nevada shot only 33 percent the first half -- 1-of-7 3-pointers -- but was 7-of-14 from behind the arc the second half while shooting 50 percent from the field.

Nevada coach Mark Fox blamed the slow start on the end of the semester.

"We looked like a team that was in the middle of final exams," he said. "We didn't execute the things we were trying to do. I told them to get back to the game plan. Keep it simple. We were able to do that the second half."

Kyle Shiloh had 11 points and Ramon Sessions 11 points and eight assists for the Wolf Pack, who have rallied from behind in several games already this year. They outscored St. Mary's 13-1 the first 4 minutes of the second half in Tuesday night's victory, went on a 10-0 run against UC Irvine, 17-0 against Alaska-Anchorage and had a 17-2 stretch in the second half before suffering their only loss to UNLV last Saturday, 58-49.

"Kemp and Shiloh made some big shots in the second half and we have to give credit to them," Pacific coach Bob Thomason said.

"We needed to capitalize on the big baskets and we would have had a bigger lead. We also needed to take advantage of open shots and the fast break opportunities," he said.

Kemp said the team did a poor job of running its offense the first half.

"Myself, I was taking some bad shots. At halftime, coach let us know about it," Kemp said. "So in the second half we tried to run the offense and move the ball around and get some good looks," he said.

Fazekas said surges of momentum in the second half are "definitely contagious."

"We're a team and there are five of us playing out there. Coach is trying to get us a bunch of good looks. When one guys is hitting it feels like the bucket is that much bigger for you. It's a team game."

The Wolf Pack trailed 29-22 but opened the second half with the 18-2 run, including two 3-pointers each by Kemp and Shiloh and one by Fazekas, to take a 40-31 lead with 14:27 remaining.

Wolfgang Rafferty and Michael White made a pair of 3-point goals to cut it to 40-37, but Kemp hit another 3 and Fazekas scored inside to make it 51-41 at 7:49.

Pacific followed with a 7-0 run, including Anthony Esparza's 3-pointer and White's breakaway layup to pull to 51-48 with 4:28 left. But Fazekas scored inside off a pass from Sessions and Kemp made his fourth 3-pointer to make it 56-48 at 3:16.

Johnson followed Esparza's two free throws with a 12-footer to cut it to 56-53 at 1:07. But Sessions hit Denis Ikovlev with a pass inside for a basket and converted both ends of a one-and-one with 12 seconds left to secure the victory over the Tigers, who had beat Nevada eight of the last 11 times they played.

Nevada led 6-0 but HorseChief scored 10 points on a 12-2 run, including two 3-pointers, to put Pacific ahead 20-14 with 8:49 left in the half. Nevada answered with an 8-2 run to tie it 22-22 on JaVale McGee's baseline jumper at 2:14, but Brown made a pair of free throws and Johnson hit a bank shot just before the half to give Pacific the lead 26-22.

Casey Neimeyer made a hook in the lane on the first possession of the second half, was fouled and made the free throw to give Pacific its biggest lead, 29-22. But Shiloh, Kemp and Fazekas made consecutive 3-pointers to start the 18-2 run that put the Wolf Pack ahead for good.