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March 8, 2007
Marcelus Kemp scored 17 points and No. 10 Nevada gave its starters plenty of rest in an 88-56 win over Idaho in the quarterfinals of the Western Athletic Conference tournament March 8.
The Wolf Pack (28-3) hit their first five shots and didn't need three-time conference player of the year Nick Fazekas to quickly put away the smaller, younger and overmatched Vandals (4-27).
Kemp, who at 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds has the quickness of a guard and strength of a power forward, got the run going with a 10-foot jumper and a 3-pointer. The Wolf Pack built a 12-3 lead 3 minutes into the game and by the time Fazekas scored on a baseline hook with 11:54 left in the first half, the lead was 28-10.
Idaho never posed a threat against Nevada, which didn't hesitate to go deep into its bench. Ten Wolf Pack players scored in the first half as the lead grew to 49-24 by halftime.
Idaho, the ninth seed in the conference tournament, was led by freshman David Jackson with 17 points and guard Keoni Watson with 15. The Vandals, who snapped a 12-game losing streak with a win over San Jose State in the tournament's play-in game Tuesday night, got no closer than 76-52 in the second half.
Fazekas, who came into the tournament averaging 21 points and 11.3 rebounds a game, took just two shots and had only two points in the first half. For a while, his 58-game streak of double-figure scoring appeared in jeopardy, but he took care of that by scoring the Wolf Pack's first six points of the second half and a jumper in the lane with 13:12 left.
He finished with a season-low 10 points, but managed a double-double with 10 rebounds. His backup, 7-foot-1 junior David Ellis, scored a season-high 11 points.
Even with its starters on the bench, Nevada was a study in efficiency in the decisive first half. The Wolf Pack hit 20 of 34 shots, went 5-for-10 on 3-pointers and had just three turnovers.