San Jose State (9-21, 4-14 Western Athletic Conference) snapped a six-game skid with the win.
Nevada (16-12, 9-9 WAC) lost for the third time in four games but still retained the No. 5 seed in this weeks WAC Tournament at Tulsa.
Hawkins was held to just two points in the first half but exploded for 14 points during the run, which covered seven minutes in the second half. His runner with 11:30 to go capped the spurt and gave the Spartans a 50-40 lead.
Nevada trailed by nine with under a minute to go. The Wolf Pack got within three after freshman Kirk Snyder drilled three free throws after being fouled by Hawkins beyond the arc.
That cut the Spartans lead to 75-72 with 26.6 seconds to play.
Nevada had a chance to tie but Terrance Green's 3-point attempt missed and San Jose State's Phil Calvert grabbed the rebound and was fouled. "He is a real tough match up for us. He beat us off the dribble and his shots went down," said Nevada coach Trent Johnson about Hawkins, who had scored his career-high 34 points against the Wolf Pack when the teams met to open conference play back in December.
"I tried to pick it up on the offensive end. In the first half, we were a little stagnant on offense. I wanted to put the team on my back and then distribute the ball," said Hawkins, who also handed out five assists.
"We run a high-low motion offense. We're always trying to get the ball to Marion because he's one of our better scorers. We got a lot of points in the paint late because of our dribble penetration," said San Jose State coach Steve Barnes, whose team shot 50.0 percent from the field for the game.
It was just the second time all season and the first time in conference play the Spartans made half their field goal attempts in a game.
The Spartans, who scored 48 of their 76 points in the paint, let their first 10-point lead of the game shrink to three before building it back to 10 again at 58-48.
"The keys for us tonight were our transition defense. We did a good job with our transition defense and limited Nevada to only six fast-break points. And, we limited their offensive rebounding and did a decent job of blocking out on the boards," Barnes said.