UNR could be favorable matchup for UNLV

UNR still has quite a way to go to be considered a good college basketball team.

The Wolf Pack, however, might not be as horrible as they appeared just a few weeks ago.

David Carter’s team has started to wipe away the memory of a eight-game losing streak by winning its last three.

UNR has three consecutive wins over Marshall, Northwest Christian and Air Force. All three of those games were at home. So far this season, UNR is 0-6 away from home. It has lost three road games and three neutral site games thus far.

The Wolf Pack now hopes to show it can win games away from Reno, starting with a showdown against arch-rival UNLV at Thomas & Mack Center at 8 p.m. on Wednesday night.

One of the reasons UNR has struggled for much of the season has been the disappointing start by Michael Perez. The senior guard looked poised for a breakout season, but has shot just 36 percent from the field and 29 percent from 3-point range. Perez scored in double figures 20 times last season and was the program’s leading returning scorer.

He is scoring just 9.6 points per game despite leading the team in minutes.

D.J. Fenner has picked up much of the slack. The sophomore is averaging 12.5 points after finishing his first year at just 2.5 points per game last season.

A.J. West is averaging 11.3 points and pulling down a team-high 9.0 rebounds per game. No other player is averaging more than 3.5 rebounds per game for the Wolf Pack. West is also the team’s only legitimate shot blocker.

Marqueze Coleman is really the only other offensive threat on the Wolf Pack. He’s averaging 10.9 points per game, but the point guard has had more turnovers than assists this year.

That’s been one problem for UNR.

Shooting from the outside has clearly been another.

The Wolf Pack has made just 26.7 percent from 3-point range. UNR just hasn’t been able to find someone to carry it from the outside. The Wolf Pack have been improving as they have recorded their three best overall shooting games in the last three outings.

It could be a very favorable matchup for UNLV and a welcome one after a nightmarish stretch of schedule culminating with a loss to No. 13 Kansas on Sunday.

The Rebels have good reason not to look past UNR, though.

The Wolf Pack swept two games against UNLV last season after losing the previous eight. The Rebels lead the all-time series 56-21.

Contact reporter Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj

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