Marqueze Coleman is taking ownership of the Nevada Wolf Pack men’s basketball team.
The senior point guard scored 15 of his game-high 31 points in two overtimes Saturday night in an 85-82 win over the Pacific Tigers. The crowd of 2,169 saw Coleman score 15 of the Wolf Pack’s 20 points in the two overtimes, including a jumper in the paint that gave the Pack an 83-82 lead that proved to be the game-winner with 1:22 to play.
The Wolf Pack, which takes on Portland State at Lawlor Events Center on Wednesday (7 p.m.), is now 3-1. Pacific fell to 0-3.
Coleman, who scored 34 points in a 76-75 loss at Hawaii early Tuesday morning, is the first Wolf Pack player in at least 16 years (since the 1999-2000 season) to score at least 30 points in back-to-back games. The only Pack players to come close to scoring 30 or more in consecutive games this century are Luke Babbitt and Terrance Green. Babbitt scored 29 points in consecutive games against Boise State and Fresno State on Jan. 20 and 23, 2010 and Green scored 29 against SMU on Feb. 13, 2003 and 31 against Louisiana Tech on Feb. 15, 2003. Wolf Pack game-by-game statistics are not available before the 1999-2000 season.
Coleman is now averaging 24.8 points a game this season after averaging just 6.6 points a game over his first three seasons. He had scored more than 20 points in a game just once over his first three seasons with none over 30. He already has three games of 20 points or more this season.
Coleman’s heroics weren’t needed as the Pack built a 32-24 lead in the first half against Pacific. Lindsey Drew, who missed the Hawaii game because of an ankle injury, gave the Pack a 20-14 lead a dozen minutes into the game with a 3-pointer. A Coleman jumper made it 24-16 with 5:13 to go in the first half and his two free throws gave the Pack a 30-22 lead with 1:48 to go.
The Pack, though, struggled to close out the first half. D.J. Fenner, Eric Cooper and Coleman all missed 3-pointers and Coleman committed a turnover as the Pack went scoreless over the last 95 seconds of the half.. Fenner, who scored 14 points against Pacific, had just four points in the first half on 2-of-8 shooting.
Fenner, though, nailed a 3-pointer for a 37-27 lead early in the second half. Pacific, though, nearly stole the game the rest of the second half. A 3-pointer by Maleke Haynes cut the Pack lead to 44-40 with 13:40 to go and a layup by D.J. Ursery made it 46-44 Pack with 11:54 to go. Ray Bowles’ free throw sliced the Pack lead to just 50-49 with just under eight minutes to play. Pacific took a 55-54 lead on a jumper by T.J. Wallace with 4:57 to play and Wallace made two free throws for a 57-54 Tigers lead with 4:37 left.
The Wolf Pack then came back to life. Tyron Criswell hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 57-57 with 4:21 to play and A.J. West’s dunk gave the Pack a 59-57 lead with 3:58 left. Pacific, however, took a 60-59 lead on a 3-pointer by Ray Bowles but the Pack went up 64-60 as Coleman had a free throw and a layup and Criswell converted two free throws.
The Tigers got a 3-pointer by Tonko Vuko and a layup by Bowles to take a 65-64 lead with just 32 seconds to play. Drew, though, had a chance to win the game with 21 seconds to play. The freshman made just 1-of-2 free throws to send the game into overtime, tied 65-65.
The Pack jumped out to a 73-68 lead in the first overtime as Coleman started to take over. His layup gave the Pack a 67-65 lead with 4:18 to go and his two free throws made it 73-68 with 2:39 left. Another two Coleman free throws gave the Pack a 76-73 lead with just 12 seconds to go but a clutch 3-pointer by Ilias Theodorou tied the game with five seconds remaining in the first overtime.
T.J. Wallace’s layup gave Pacific an 82-81 lead with 1:47 left in the second overtime. The Tigers then went scoreless the rest of the game.
Coleman hit a short jumper in the lane for an 83-82 Pack lead with 1:22 to go.
Pacific had a chance to regain the lead but Drew stole the ball from Haynes with 54 seconds to go. Coleman then missed a jumper in the lane but West came down with the crucial offensive rebound and was fouled. His two free throws then gave the Pack an 85-82 lead with 25 seconds to go. West had missed two free throws with Pacific leading 80-79 with 34 seconds to go.
Pacific then missed three 3-pointers in the last 18 seconds as the Wolf Pack earned its first victory in Stockton since Dec. 3, 2005 (77-70). The Pack had lost three games in a row and seven of the last eight to the Tigers, including a 69-65 loss last season on Dec. 18, 2014 when the Pack scored just 17 points in the first half. Pacific had gone 27-12 against the Wolf Pack since 1958.
Coleman, who played all pf the 50 minutes in the game, was 10-of-13 from the free throw line on Saturday and is now 43-of-53 on the season. Almost half (43) of his 99 points this year have come from the free throw line. Coleman is the first Pack player to play 50 or more minutes in a game since Deonte Burton played all 50 minutes in an 83-81 double-overtime win over Boise State on March 5, 2014.
The Wolf Pack played the last 15:37 of the game without freshman forward Cameron Oliver. Oliver, who made his first start of the season and scored eight points with eight rebounds, fouled out with 5:37 to go in the fourth quarter on a technical foul and the Pack up just 54-53. West, though, responded to the loss of Oliver with 11 points and 16 rebounds in 41 minutes. Criswell had 11 points and eight rebounds off the bench. Fenner also had 14 points and eight rebounds and played 48 minutes.
Coleman was 5-of-7 from the field and 4-of-5 from the free throw line in the two overtime periods combined. His only 3-pointer of the game also came in overtime.
Wallace had 20 points, despite missing 9-of-10 3-pointers for Pacific. Bowles had 19 points and 12 rebounds. Anthony Townes had nine points and nine rebounds.
The Wolf Pack out-rebounded Pacific 61-55, though both teams had 25 offensive rebounds. Pacific had more second chance points than the Pack, 24-13.