<
>

Fazekas, No. 20 Nevada hold off Akron with late 8-0 run

AKRON, Ohio (AP) -- Nick Fazekas didn't let a slight ankle sprain
keep him from leading Nevada (No. 20 ESPN/USA Today, No. 25 AP) to another road win.

The senior center had 24 points and 11 rebounds to help the Wolf
Pack hold off Akron 73-71 on Friday night in front of a crowd that
included Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James.

"He had a little sprain, but got it retaped and came back out
and helped us finish," Nevada coach Mark Fox said of the 6-foot-11
Fazekas, who averages 21 points and 12 rebounds.

"We needed him. We had our hands full. Akron's offense is a
little better than our defense so we went to the zone -- which we
normally don't do -- and it worked."

Dru Joyce tied a career high with 23 points and Romeo Travis
added 11 to lead Akron (7-3), which had a 21-game home winning
streak snapped. The two seniors combined with James to win two
state championships at Akron's St. Vincent-St. Mary High School.

"I'm not really one for moral victories, so I'm not completely
satisfied," Akron coach Keith Dambrot said. "We had a chance to
win and didn't handle the zone well enough."

Ramon Sessions added 22 points for Nevada (10-1), which tied the
best start in history, set in 1978-79 and matched last season. The
Wolf Pack have won nine straight on the road and are 25-5 away from
home the last three seasons.

"Akron played great," Sessions said. "We made a bad switch on
the final play, but luckily they missed the shot."

Akron got the ball after a timeout with 2.6 seconds left and
passed to Joyce, who missed an open 14-footer.

"I thought I was going to be a decoy, but they made a mistake
on coverage and I was open," Joyce said. "I had a good look, but
short-armed it. Nine of the next 10 times, I'll hit that shot."

Nevada used an 8-0 run to take a 65-61 lead with four minutes to
play. Then Nick Dials was fouled on a 3-point attempt and made all
the free throws to get the Zips within one point with 3:36 left.

Joyce missed a free throw with 3:01 left that would have tied it
at 67, but he hit his fifth 3-pointer of the game to get the Zips
within 71-69 with 1:50 left.

Fazekas made his first eight shots before missing a 12-foot
jumper with 1:37 left in the first half as Nevada went on a 17-6
run to lead 41-33 at halftime.

Akron's Cedrick Middleton drove the length of the court for a
three-point play as the first-half buzzer sounded.

"That was a momentum-changer," Joyce said. "We were in
trouble, our heads were dropping, but he got us going."

The Zips opened the second half with a 15-3 run, including a
long 3-pointer by Joyce that gave them a 48-44 lead.

Before the game, it was announced that Dambrot signed a new
five-year contract.

Dambrot, who has a 49-23 record in two-plus seasons at the
school, is under contract through 2011. He coached St. Vincent-St.
Mary High School to its state championships before taking over at
Akron.