RENO, Nev. — CJ Carter curled his way through traffic for a game-winning layup with eight-tenths of a second left Saturday to lift UNO to an 82-80 victory over Nevada, a mild upset of a Mountain West Conference team on its home court.
Deonte Burton, Nevada's NBA draft prospect point guard, missed a jumper with 10 seconds left and the Mavericks quickly pushed it back the other way in transition. Devin Patterson, UNO's quick 5-foot-11 point guard — whom Mavericks coach Derrin Hansen credited for strong work on both ends of the floor against Burton — drove toward the right baseline. He pulled up to shoot, then passed to a cutting Carter, who finished the play with a layup on the right side of the basket.
“Just a snap pass to CJ,” Hansen said. “CJ found a crease in there somehow, and Devin found him with a great pass. CJ had a tough angle on the shot, but he banked it in.”
Nevada called two timeouts to set up a last-second shot, but the inbounds pass to Burton was still received some 75 feet from the basket and he wasn't able to get a shot off before the buzzer.
UNO improved to 8-3 while Nevada dropped to 4-7. The teams carried nearly identical RPIs in the 150 range into the weekend.
Senior center John Karhoff, whose shot in the lane with 40 seconds left tied the game 80-80, led all scorers with 25 points on 8-for-14 shooting from the field and a 9-for-12 effort at the foul line. Patterson had 18 points and eight assists, Carter had 13 points, Alex Phillips scored 12 and Mike Rostampour added 11.
UNO led 74-65 on a Patterson layup with 6:27 left, but Burton scored the first seven points in an 11-0 run that gave Nevada a 76-74 lead.
The Mavs tied it on free throws from Patterson, and two more foul shots by Karhoff made it 78-76 with 1:36 to go. Karhoff then fouled Michael Perez, who made both of his free throws, and a Burton layup gave Nevada an 80-78 lead with 56 seconds left. Karhoff tied it, then Burton missed, with UNO's Matt Hagerbaumer grabbing the last of his 10 rebounds.
“I give our guys credit, it was just like (Tuesday's win over Cal State) Bakersfield — they never wavered,” Hansen said. “They've been really good about that. They never got frustrated. I'm proud of them, and I'm happy for them.”
Phillips, who has struggled this season and was averaging just 5.3 points after averaging 8.2 last year, had his season-high 12 points on a career-best four 3-pointers. Starter Marcus Tyus was limited to 10 minutes because of foul trouble, and Justin Simmons — the All-Summit League player who has been coming off the bench while recovering from a back injury — also deferred playing time to Phillips.
“The great thing for A.P. is that he didn't make those shots by accident,” Hansen said. “He maybe hasn't played all that much or in his mind all that well, and when that's the case you go to the gym and get some shots up and work at it. That's what he did.”
Jerry Evans led Nevada with 24 points, while Burton had 22 points and eight assists. Perez scored 17 points. Lucas Stivrins, son of former Lincoln East star Alex Stivrins, started in place of an injured Ronnie Stevens and grabbed a team-best six rebounds.
UNO returns to action Friday, traveling to Minnesota for a game televised on the Big Ten Network. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. The Mavs host a solid Western Athletic Conference foe in Seattle on Dec. 22.
“It's an important week for us academically, then we prep two more times and play two more times before we can take a (Christmas) break,” Hansen said. “I'm happy for our guys. They've worked hard and they deserve this, but we're also just 11 games into our season.”