The talented Nevada guard scored 15 of his 16 points in the second half, and top-seeded Nevada overcame a horrid first half offensively, posting a 54-44 win over San Jose State in the WAC tuornament quarterfinals Thursday night.
Immediately after getting dropped to the floor by the elbow of San Jose State’s Stephon Smith, Burton responded with eight straight points, and awakened a slumbering Nevada offense that tied a WAC tournament record by scoring just 13 first-half points.
Not that the Spartans were much better, leading just 14-13 at the break. But Nevada’s talent took over the final 14 minutes, erasing a nine-point second-half deficit.
With the score at 28-19 in favor of San Jose State, the Wolf Pack strung together a 22-4 outburst that flip-flopped the nine-point advantage, putting Nevada ahead 41-32 at the 8:26 mark.
Seven straight points from the Spartans cut the deficit to 41-39 with 6:22 left in the contest, but Nevada was able to hang on down the stretch for the opening- round victory.
The Wolf Pack missed 15 of its 18 shots in the opening half, shooting a measly 16.7 percent. Nevada finished the game 18-of-45 (40 percent), including 4-of-16 (25 percent) from three-point range.
San Jose State ended the game 19-of-58 (32.8 percent) from the field, along with hitting just one trey on 16 attempts from beyond the arc (6.3 percent).
Olek Czyz and Jerry Evans, Jr. added 10 each for Nevada (26-5).
Will Carter led the Spartans (9-22) with 18 points.
Nevada will face either Utah State or Louisiana Tech in the WAC semifinals today at 8:30 p.m. The game will be shown on the WAC Sports Network.