by Stone Harper
Nevada’s 2014 season was looking grim after the loss of Deonte Burton, arguably one of the greatest players in Wolf Pack history. The team also lost Jerry Evans and Cole Huff, who were second and third on the Pack last year in scoring. The Wolf Pack proved everyone wrong by winning its first two games against Cal Poly and Adams State. However, Nevada has hit a rough patch, losing its last four games, including three in the Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
NEVADA TRAVELS TO LONG BEACH
Nevada will be traveling to Long Beach to take on the 49ers. Long Beach State is led in backcourt by senior guard Mike Caffey. The guard is a two-time first-team all-Big West Conference performer, and is currently leading the team in scoring with
18.9 points per game.
Caffey is also versatile as he is leading the team
in assists with 4.1, and is third on the team in rebounds with 4.1, despite only being 6-feet tall. The most impressive part of Caffey’s game is how efficiently he shoots the ball; he is currently shooting 53.1 percent from the field and a remarkable 47.6 percent from three-point land.
Long Beach State also has a terrific player in the frontcourt in forward David Samuels. The 6-foot-8 senior is a bruiser, averaging a team-high 5.6 rebounds despite being relatively small for a forward. Samuels is also a viable scoring option, averaging 8.8 points, which is third on the team. Samuels will be a force down in the paint and will need to be accounted for.
NEVADA RETURNS TO LAWLOR AGAINST CAL
Nevada will host the Golden Bears of California on Sunday looking to get out of its cold streak. The Golden Bears are led in the back court by junior Tyrone Williams.
Williams is a behemoth point guard who is a playmaker in every aspect of the Bears’ attack. He is currently the team’s leading scorer at 17.2 points per game. More impressively, he is the team’s leading rebounder with 8.2 a game.
Guard Marqueze Coleman will have to step up on both sides of the ball, guarding Williams and assuring that he is not a threat on the offensive side of the ball. He will also have to step up when it comes to rebounds, making sure that Williams does not get offensive rebounds that will lead to second-chance points and also defensive rebounds so he can not start the fast break and get easy transition points.
Cal also has a beast in the front court in forward David Kravish. The senior was the team’s leading returning scorer from last season and is currently averaging 12.2 points per game which is good enough for third best on the team. He is also a low post presence who, at 6-foot-10, will be especially difficult to deal with because no Nevada player matches his height.
If Nevada expects to win this game it will have to do one thing very well: play picture-perfect offense. The Wolf Pack is currently averaging 59.4 points per game and is being outscored by 3.8 points. California is averaging a whopping 74.7 points per game and is shooting 47 percent from the field. The Pack will have to shoot well from the field in order to win the game.
Stone Harper can be reached at sharper@sage- brush.unr.edu and on Twitter @StoneHarperNVSB.