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Wolf Pack runs past Air Force to end losing streak

Deonte Burton's 21 points led the Nevada Wolf Pack to a 75-56 victory Saturday at Air Force.
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The Nevada Wolf Pack's season is finally headed in the right direction again.

The Wolf Pack jumped out to a 10-0 lead and coasted to a convincing 75-56 victory Saturday afternoon at Air Force to end a five-game losing streak. The Wolf Pack improved to 13-15 overall and 8-7 in the Mountain West with the much-needed victory as Air Force fell to 10-15, 4-10.

The victory also gave the Wolf Pack its first two-game season sweep over a Mountain West opponent since it joined the conference before last season. The Pack beat Air Force 69-56 in overtime at Lawlor Events Center on Feb. 1. That victory on Feb. 1 was also the Pack's last win before Saturday.

This game was never in doubt.

Jerry Evans and Deonte Burton hit early 3-pointers as the Pack exploded out to a 10-0 lead just three minutes into the game. Air Force missed its first five shots, including two lay-ups.

Another 3-pointer, this time by Michael Perez, gave the Pack a 17-6 lead with 12:23 to go in the first half. Max Yon hit a jumper for Air force to cut the Pack's lead to 19-12 but A.J. West slammed home a dunk after a Burton steal for a 26-14 Pack advantage with 7:19 to go before halftime.

A DeLovell Earls lay-up pulled Air Force to within 30-26 with two minutes to go in the half. But Cole Huff drained a 3-pointer for a 35-26 Nevada lead a minute later as the Pack took a 35-29 lead into the ocker room.

The second half, like the first half, was all Wolf Pack.

Ronnie Stevens had a lay-up for a 43-33 lead with 16:42 to go and a 3-pointer by Evans made it 53-40 with just under 11 minutes to go. D.J. Fenner then came off the bench for a pair of free throws and a lay-up as the Pack was in complete control at 57-40 with 9:42 left.

Burton hit a 3-pointer and Evans had a jumper for a 64-45 Pack lead with 4:26 to go. Perez's 3-pointer made the score 72-53 with 2:16 left.

Burton, who had been struggling lately, had a very efficient game on his way to a game-high 21 points. The senior point guard was 6-of-7 from the field and 7-of-8 from the free throw line. Burton also had five assists and two steals and just one turnover.

The victory also allowed the Wolf Pack to finally surpass its victory total of a year ago when it finished 12-19.

The Pack shot 52 per cent from the floor (27-of-52) and converted 13-of-16 free throws. Air Force couldn't hit a shot in the second half, missing 14-of-17 3-pointers, 21-of-31 field goals and 8-of-12 free throws to finish the game at 20 per cent (5-of-20) on threes, 37 per cent from the field (22-of-60) and 47 percent (7-of-15) from the line.

Perez backed up Burton with 12 points and Huff and Evans each finished with 11. Evans also contributed 13 rebounds. Tre Coggins led Air Force with 14 points and Yon added 12.

Fenner scored eight points in 13 minutes off the bench and also had two rebounds and two assists.

The Wolf Pack will now take the next seven days off before hosting New Mexico at Lawlor Events Center on March 2.