No. 10 Wolf Pack eye shooting surge at Fresno State
Caleb Martin's shooting slump had gone for five halves when he sat in the locker room at halftime on Wednesday and pondered his performance.
The word "relax" was used many times and the Nevada senior guard concluded he had gotten all the missed shots out of his system.
Martin broke out in the second half in a big way and looks to carry the momentum into Saturday's contest when the No. 10 Wolf Pack (15-1, 2-1) visit Fresno State (12-3, 3-0) in Mountain West play.
Martin scored 21 of his 23 points in the second half of Nevada's 92-53 trouncing of San Jose State. He was 7-of-8 shooting in the second half and made all six 3-point attempts to tie a career best.
But the night didn't start well as Martin scored two points on 1-of-7 shooting in the first half to further along a slump that saw him score a season-low seven points against Utah State and just eight on 2-of-14 shooting in last Saturday's horrid 85-58 loss to New Mexico.
"First half, it's just all mental," Martin, who averages 18.6 points, said during the postgame press conference. "I'm really hard on myself when I miss shots. I know I'm not playing how I'm capable of playing, just inside my own head. In the second half I was just more freelancing, just playing. I couldn't play any worse. It was kind of up from there."
Martin and his teammates regained their form in the second half against the Spartans. San Jose State surprisingly trailed by just nine points with 14 minutes to play before Nevada erupted and concluded the game on a 49-19 run.
And Martin wasn't the only player hotter than lava from long range. The Wolf Pack were 11 of 18 from behind the arc in the second half after being 2 of 16 over the first 20 minutes.
"These guys have a green light," Nevada coach Eric Musselman said in the postgame press conference. "Without a green light, we don't open the game like we did. We feel like the floodgates are coming, it's just a matter of when. We've played 16 games and one night, the floodgates never came. The other 15 nights, at some point in the game, the floodgates came."
Fresno State is playing well and the Bulldogs recorded a dramatic 78-77 road win at Utah State on Wednesday as senior guard Braxton Huggins drained a game-winning 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds left.
"We knew we didn't have a timeout and we knew we needed a 3," Huggins said in a postgame press conference. "We just tried looking for the best shot and the ball ended up in my hands. I had a pretty good night going, a pretty good second half, and the guys gave me trust to shoot the ball. I said, 'Yeah, I'm going to try to make a play to finish the game.'"
Huggins scored a career-high 33 points and his eight 3-pointers were one shy of the school mark.
"That dude Braxton is something else," junior guard Noah Blackwell said after the contest. "He's a different animal. He's just built for moments like that and I'm just happy to have him on my team."
Huggins is averaging a team-best 18.9 points and has made 46 3-pointers. Senior guard Deshon Taylor ranks second on the squad with a 16.8 average.
--Field Level Media
Updated January 10, 2019