By Manny Vieites
Over the holiday weekend, the Wolf Pack traveled to partake in the Las Vegas Invitational at the Orleans Arena.
Nevada’s first game of the tournament took place Thursday against No. 19 UCLA. The Wolf Pack struggled to bring the ball up the court and could not stop the Bruins in transition. Nevada ultimately fell to the Bruins 105-84. On Friday, the Pack continued its journey in Vegas against SEC powerhouse Missouri. Deonte Burton kept the Pack in the game adding 20 points but could not bring his team to victory and fell 83-70. Nevada now sits at 3-5 on the season and will continue its campaign this Saturday against the UC Davis Aggies.
Wolf Pack stay on road for third consecutive time
The Aggies are left with the same record as the Pack coming into Saturday’s game and have not played a difficult schedule thus far. The Pack has to watch out for the Aggies big three, consisting of guards Ryan Sypkens, Corey Hawkins and forward Josh Ritchart, who score two thirds of Davis’ points per game. The Pack has to contain the perimeter shooting of the Aggies, and big men Ali Fall and Cole Huff will have to help off screens to limit easy baskets in the half court set.
Nevada has not been able to fight through screens and win the battle defensively in recent games. Time and time again, the Pack has allowed second chance points, and opposing guards to score easy baskets. With the Aggies’ major scorers being guards, Nevada’s Jerry Evans Jr. will have to step up defensively along with shooting guard Michael Perez. Look for the Pack to utilize the full court press, along with the half court trap in order to slow down the pace of the game to become victorious.
Look to the added wear of playing on the road for the second week in a row to be a factor. Nevada registered a mark of 1-4 on away non-conference games last season, with the lone victory coming from a three-point win over Washington. However, the Wolf Pack does hold a 2-1 record this season away from Lawlor Events Center (the games against Missouri and UCLA do not count as road games since they were at a neutral site). While the Aggies do hold a reasonable record at home, playing away from Reno has been troublesome for the Pack in the past.
Since this is the third of four road games (Nevada will play Cal Tuesday), the Wolf Pack might be trapped in a “funk” game against a lesser opponent then what it has been used to. Nevada needs this win here in order to get some momentum going into the upcoming Berkeley game and in the big picture of Mountain West Conference play.
Manny Vieites can be reached at email@example.com.