The Nevada Wolf Pack won a free throw shooting contest Saturday night.
The Wolf Pack converted 30-of-37 free throws at the Save Mart Center to outlast the Fresno State Bulldogs 68-61 at Fresno for the first Mountain West victory in school history.
The 37 free throws are the most for the Pack since it had 42 also at Fresno on Feb. 25, 2012. The 30 successful free throws are the most since David Carter became head coach at the start of the 2009-10 season.
Fresno State was just 12-of-21 from the free throw line. Tyler Johnson led the Bulldogs with 16 points. Kevin Foster added 15 points and seven rebounds. Kevin Olekaibe had 10 points off the bench.
The Wolf Pack, which ended a frustrating three-game losing streak and is now 10-7 overall and 1-2 in the Mountain West, put the Bulldogs in the final minute with free throws. The Pack scored its last seven points all at the line in the final 53 seconds.
It was a 7-0 run starting four minutes to play, though, that put the Pack in the lead for good. With the game tied for the eighth time (54-54) with 4:22 to play, the Pack went on a game-changing run to take control.
Jerry Evans started the run, fittingly, with a free throw for a 55-54 lead with 4:01 to play. Deonte Burton then hit a jumper and a lay-up and Devonte Elliott also had a layup as the Pack took a 61-54 lead with just 1:11 to go.
Fresno State went scoreless for a span of 3:20. Kevin Foster had a lay-up ti tie the game at 54-54 with 4:22 to go and the Bulldogs didn't score again until an Aaron Anderson free throw cut the Nevada lead to 61-56 with 1:02 left. That free throw was Anderson's only point of the game in 32 minutes.
Malik Story broke a three-game shooting slump to lead the Pack with 24 points. Story, who had scored just a combined 19 points during the Pack's three-game losing streak, was 11-of-12 from the free throw line. Burton added 22 points and went 12-of-15 from the charity stripe.
Evans played very well, pulling down 11 rebounds and scoring nine points. Elliott finished with seven points and three rebounds.
The Pack took a 28-27 halftime lead on a lay-up by Burton with two seconds remaining in the first half. It was the Pack's first lead since it took a 4-2 advantage two minutes into the game.
Story scored seven points in the first four minutes of the second half to give the Pack a 35-31 lead.
Carter tightened his rotation drastically in the game as Story played 39 minutes and Burton played 38. Kevin Panzer and Marqueze Coleman combined for zero points in 24 minutes (12 each).
The game was played before 7,829 fans, the largest crowd to see a Wolf Pack game this season.
The Pack has now won five games in a row against Fresno State and leads the all-time series 50-37. The Bulldogs fell to 7-10 overall and 1-3 in the Mountain West.
The Pack will return to the floor on Wednesday against San Diego State at Lawlor Events Center.