[NEVADA RELEASE - AP WRITER]

12/29/2018

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Eric Musselman observes other coaches bench players when they aren't shooting well. He, instead, tells his stars to just shoot more.

Caleb Martin scored a career-high 33 points and Jordan Caroline added 17 to lead No. 6 Nevada over Utah 86-71 on Saturday.

''Coach gives us so much confidence,'' Martin said. ''I know how good a shooter I am capable of being. I just had to shoot myself out of it and get to the rim a couple times.''

Along with his signature glides to the hoop, Martin emerged from a shooting slump (10 for 43 from beyond the arc the prior four games) in a big way with six 3-pointers to go along with seven assists and four steals.

Nevada, which forced Utah into 18 turnovers, remained just one of five undefeated NCAA Division I teams.

Jazz Johnson went 4 for 4 on 3s as the Wolf Pack made 12 and shot 46 percent from long range. Coming into the game, the Wolf Pack had made just 27 of their last 112 3-point attempts.

''I'm not worried about the shooting. I just know we do not lose when we have 200 passes - it hasn't happened in three years here,'' Musselman said of the way ball movement produces open shots.

Sedrick Barefield countered with a season-best 33 points for the Utes (6-6), who couldn't bounce back from Nevada's big run early in the second half. Donnie Tillman had 13 points and 10 rebounds for Utah, which lost for the first time at home this season.

Trailing by double-digits most of the second half, Utah drew within 75-66 with 4:17 to play on Charles Jones, Jr.'s 3-pointer.

But Martin made a couple more baskets and Nevada grabbed three timely offensive rebounds to clinch the game.

Utah had height to contend with the formidable Wolf Pack frontline, but the Utes couldn't stay with the Nevada's athletes on drives to the hoop and scrambles for loose balls.

After a back-and-forth first half, the Wolf Pack ratcheted up the pressure and turned a 38-37 edge into an 11-point lead.

''We put more pressure on the ball and tried to be more active, get in the lanes a bit more and I think it showed. We got some turnovers and it sparked us,'' Caroline said.

The Nevada defense forced Utah into five turnovers on their first six possessions of the second half. Caleb Martin sparked the 13-3 run with an off-balance 3-pointer and capped it with an assist to Caroline to make it 51-40.

''I thought we were lackadaisical at the start of the second half,'' Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said. ''We fueled their fire to start the second half by turning the ball over.''

The Wolf Pack all say they are a second-half team and early deficits don't bother them. They take their cue from Caleb Martin.

''I just become a different player in the second half. I know I have to produce and I get a real fire under me. We just do whatever it takes in the second half to win the game,'' Martin said.

Neither team was happy with how tight the officials called any contact and it finally boiled over when Cody Martin got a technical foul with 13:57 left. Trey Porter, who had nine points, fouled out with 9:30 to play and Cody Martin missed significant time with foul trouble.

The win marked the best start since Nevada became a Division I school in 1969 and the only time the Wolf Pack has completed non-conference play with an unblemished record

UP NEXT

Nevada: Hosts Utah State on Wednesday to open MWC play.

Utah: Visits No. 17 Arizona State on Thursday.

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Game Notes:
 No. 6 Nevada improved to 13-0 after winning at Utah (6-6) 86-71 in the final non-conference game of the season.

The Wolf Pack opens Mountain West play on Wednesday hosting Utah State (10-3) at 8 p.m. at Lawlor Events Center.

Utah fell to 5-1 at home and lost a non-conference home game for the first time since 2016.

Nevada is one of five undefeated Division I teams.

It is the first time the Pack have gone undefeated in non-conference play.

It was Nevada first win in 11 games against the Utes.

The Pack improved to 3-0 versus Pac-12 opponents this season with victories over USC, Arizona State and now Utah.

Caleb Martin scored a career-high 33 points in the victory.  He also had a career-high seven assists and collected four steals.

Jordan Caroline posted his eighth double-double of the season finishing with 17 points and a game high 12 rebounds.  It was his 35th career double-double at Nevada which ranks fourth in school history.

Wolf Pack head coach Eric Musselman (94-29) won his 94th game at Nevada.

Musselman improved 55-14 overall in non-conference games.

Nevada improved to 70-16 when ranked in the Associated Press top 25.

The 13-0 start is the best in the Division I era for the Wolf Pack that began with the 1969-70 season.  The best overall start was 14-0 by the 1951-52 Pack squad.

Jazz Johnson was a perfect 4-for-4 from behind the arc.  On the season he is shooting 59.6 percent from the field.  Johnson finished with 12 points on the night.

Caleb Martin and Caroline have scored in double figures in every game this season.