By Javier Hernandez
The Nevada Basketball team bounced back from Friday’s loss to St. Mary’s to earn their first victory of the season against Loyola Marymount. The Lions were able to keep pace with the Wolf Pack, staying within six or seven points, keeping the score within a manageable distance for most of the second half. In the absence of Cam Oliver due to foul trouble, the Wolf Pack turned to guard Marcus Marshall in crunch time. Marshall was able to drain a dagger three-pointer and two free throws on the next possession to give Nevada a 79-64 victory.
The senior transfer had 18 points (on 6-for-15 shooting; 4-of-10 from beyond the arc) and three assists on the night.
In Friday’s matchup against St. Mary’s, the Wolf Pack struggled to prevent St. Mary’s from scoring in the paint. As a result, Coach Eric Musselman inserted Caroline in the starting lineup in place of Fenner to complement Oliver and Foster in the frontline. While Caroline and Oliver both suffered from foul trouble, Elijah Foster stepped up in their absence contributing 18 points and 12 rebounds. Despite the Lions boasting three seven footers in their lineup, the Wolf Pack were able to outrebound them 34-21.
“I was just trying to get their bigs in foul trouble and attack the paint,” Foster said. “I feel like they couldn’t guard us in the paint so we had to take advantage of that. Especially with Cam and Jordan out, I had to play big and give them a presence in the post.”
The Wolf Pack carried over their hot shooting from their game against St. Mary’s into tonight’s matchup. Nevada shot 56.3 percent on 27-of-48 shots in the game and 65.2 percent on 15-of-23 shots in the second half. Fenner was able to spark the offense by scoring 10 of his 12 points in the second half. In his limited playing time, Oliver was able to have a momentum changing series of back to back dunks and a layup and ending with 14 points on the night.
Nevada’s starting lineup, which also saw Devearl Ramsey replacing Lindsey Drew, came out with a higher intensity than its previous matchup. The defense helped spark an early 11-4 run to give the Pack the early momentum. While the offense was able to get better throughout the night, Nevada began to trade buckets with the Lions in the second half which allowed for the game to stay within striking distance until the last couple of minutes.
“In the first half, we were up 16 or 17 and we were doing a great job on the defensive end and then came the second half where we kind of started trading off buckets and we couldn’t expand the lead,” Marshall said. “We were kinda trading buckets but obviously if we get our stops and get our buckets we could expand the lead.”
Up next for Nevada is Oregon State on Friday night. The Wolf Pack lost to the Beavers in Corvallis last year 66-62. The Wolf Pack looks to avenge its loss and Oliver is especially looking forward to this matchup to get revenge on the team he previously committed to.
“It definitely feels good to get a win,” Oliver said. “Friday, we have Oregon State, the school I committed to before I came here. So I have a really, really big chip on my shoulder.”
Javier Hernandez can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @SagebrushSports.