Santa Clara Drops Hard-Fought Contest Against No. 21 Nevada

Nov. 25, 2006

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - Nick Fazekas had 28 points and 15 rebounds for his fifth straight double-double and No. 21 Nevada remained unbeaten with a hard-fought 78-70 victory over Santa Clara on Saturday night.

Nevada (5-0) extended its regular-season road winning streak to seven games dating to last season's 10-3 showing outside of Reno, earning its 19th victory in 20 games with the Wolf Pack's lone loss during that stretch coming to Montana in the NCAA tournament.

Sean Denison scored 23 points for the scrappy Broncos, who looked energized from the tipoff coming off a 73-48 loss at California on Monday night in which they were outscored 23-4 to end the first half. Danny Pariseau added 13 points, hitting a 3-pointer that made it 74-70 with 2:19 to play.

Fazekas scored 11 of his team's first 20 points in the second half and his 3-pointer with 10:51 remaining made it 60-48. Nevada held Santa Clara scoreless for nearly 4 1/2 minutes, and the Broncos (2-2) ended the drought on a goaltending call that gave Denison two points.

Denison's three-point play with 8:19 to go pulled the Broncos within 62-58, but Fazekas quickly answered on the other end. Denison converted another three-point play at 3:44 to cut Nevada's lead to 70-65.

"They made plays down the stretch," said Denison, who has looked great so far after moving from center to power forward this season. "They had guys come to the post and double-team more."

Ramon Sessions added 16 points and six rebounds for the Wolf Pack, who won their first four games by a combined 89 points - an average margin of victory of 22.4 points.

Marcelus Kemp added 11 points, five rebounds and four assists as the three-time defending Western Athletic Conference champs were pushed the entire 40 minutes for the first time this season.

Two-time reigning WAC player of the year Fazekas, defended by Denison before Santa Clara switched to a zone, made 12 of 19 shots.

Both teams came out firing, with Santa Clara hitting its first seven field goals and Nevada making 8 of its first 10 attempts. Both teams shot 51 percent or better in the first half, with Nevada leading 40-39 at the break after making four first-half 3-pointers.

"I thought both teams played hard," Santa Clara coach Dick Davey said. "They were able to make more shots. They're just a nice, solid team. They pretty much defend the same way all the time: stable."

Santa Clara had won three of the last four meetings, including 67-62 in the last meeting on the Broncos' home floor Dec. 14, 2002.

Nevada crashed the boards hard to establish an early 11-4 rebounding advantage, but the Broncos created some second and third chances on offense.

Santa Clara is celebrating its 100th year of basketball by honoring its former greats. A banner with Steve Nash's No. 11 jersey hangs high above one baseline and a banner with two pictures of Nash is displayed on the other side.