GLEN ROSALES, Associated Press
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Jordan Caroline hit the game-winning 3 with two seconds left in overtime and Nevada rallied with nine 3-pointers in the closing minutes of regulation for a remarkable 105-104 victory over New Mexico on Saturday night.
The Wolf Pack (14-3, 3-1 Mountain West) stormed back from 25 points in the second half and from five points in overtime, with Caroline finishing with a career-high 45 points, 13 rebounds, nine assists and five blocks. It was the most points scored by an opponent in the Pit’s 50-plus years.
“You never know what can happen,” Caroline said. “Keep playing. Keep scrapping. Keep fighting. And I felt like we showed great resilience as a team and perseverance and toughness.”
Marcus Marshall added 26 points, with 12 of those coming on four 3-pointers in the final minute of the second half — the final two banking in and the last one tying it with seven seconds left.
Elijah Brown raced the ball up court, but his shot at the buzzer hit off the front of the rim to send it to overtime. Brown also missed an off-balance shot from half court at the end of overtime.
“It’s the greatest win I’ve ever been a part of,” said Nevada coach Eric Musselman.
The 25-point comeback tied for the eighth largest second-half deficit overcome to win a game in NCAA history.
Tim Williams and Brown each had 26 points for New Mexico (9-7, 2-2).
Nevada had seven 3-pointers in the final 1:49.
Midway through the second half the Lobos led 74-49 and were still up 87-68 with 4:27 left before Nevada started hitting 3-pointers.
“There at the end, we didn’t play,” New Mexico coach Craig Neal said. “We didn’t finish. We were in total control and then, your team has to go figure out that it has to finish games when you’re ahead.”
The result left Neal shaking his head.
“They banked three (3-point) shots in,” he said. “They banked them in, but they went in. We were trying not to give them a 3 the last shot, but we let them shoot a 3.”
Nevada: The Wolf Pack, along with the Lobos, came into the game as half of a four-team conference log jam at 2-1. Nevada maintained a tie for second place with Colorado State behind front-running Boise State.
“The tough thing about basketball is I thought New Mexico played absolutely phenomenal,” Musselman said. “Through 38 minutes, they played as good as anybody we’ve played all year. The one thing we kept stressing in timeouts was don’t quit. You’ve got to play until the final buzzer.”
New Mexico: The loss was the Lobos’ first at home this season and Nevada’s first conference road win of the season.
“It goes forward,” Neal said. “You just have to keep playing, keep getting better. It’s a long season. Hopefully they’ll bounce back but they’re down right now.”
New Mexico’s Xavier Adams, who injured his knee Wednesday against Utah State, is lost for the season with an ACL tear. Point guard Jordan Hunter, who turned his ankle Jan. 1 against San Diego State, missed his second game. He’s considered day-to-day.
For Nevada, guard Josh Hall did not play after suffering a concussion Wednesday against San Diego State.
Nevada next goes to Wyoming on Saturday. The teams are starting to build a rivalry, with the Wolf Pack sweeping both games last season, but by a combined nine points.
New Mexico next plays at home Tuesday against UNLV. It will be a homecoming of sorts for Rebels first-year coach Marvin Menzies, who coached New Mexico State for eight years and made annual trips to the Pit, compiling a 1-7 record there.
(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)