Game One – Vs BYU
Nevada Basketball began their highest anticipated season in school history off with an 86-70 victory against Brigham Young University Tuesday, Nov. 6, at Lawlor Events Center.
Three players scored in double figures for the Pack. Caleb Martin scored all 21 of his points in the second half, on 4-13 shooting, making 10-12 free throws. Jordan Caroline led both teams in scoring, with 25 points on 8-16 shooting, snatching down 16 rebounds — tying his career-high.
Cougar star forward Yoeli Childs tallied 16 points and 12 rebounds. Childs was only limited to 26 minutes on the evening. The 6’8” junior played 17 first half minutes, but picked up his fourth foul with 19:12 left in the second half, fouling out with 2:35 remaining.
Nevada began the intense matchup on a 9-0 run. Senior center Trey Porter — a grad transfer from Old Dominion — converted on six of Nevada’s first nine points. Nevada’s defense was engaged, holding BYU to an 0-8 shooting stretch to begin the game.
Despite the early shooting woes, Nevada offensively continued to draw fouls, getting into double bonus with 9:16 remaining. Nevada converted on 13 of their 34 first half points from the stripe, on 21 attempts.
BYU took their first lead 22-20 lead, but Nevada responded with a 12-6 run, leading 32-26 with 3:11 remaining in the first half. A ten-foot jumper from Childs sparked an 8-2 BYU run to end the first half.
The first half was chaos all around. Both teams committed a combined 27 fouls — six more than the total field goals made. The Martin Twins were a combined 0-5 in the first half with zero points. Caroline notched his 28th career double-double with 5:07 remaining.
Caleb Martin flipped the switch in the second half, scoring a quick nine points — including two back-to-back threes — giving Nevada a 46-45 lead.
Nevada head coach Eric Musselman continued to wave his arms, getting the crowd energetic, bringing them to their feet in an already electric environment. His players fed off of his energy.
Caroline did what he does best, displaying a physical brand of basketball, taking the ball to the rack attempting to consecutive possessions, giving Nevada a 53-52 lead. The following possessions led to a corner three by senior forward Tre’Shawn Thurman and a three on the opposite corner from senior guard Jazz Johnson giving Nevada a 59-52 lead with under 12 minutes remaining.
Nevada eventually pulled away in the closing stages, sparked by a Caroline layup. Jazz Johnson would nail two corner three pointers, one of which capped off a 17-9 run, giving the Pack an 82-68 lead with 2:11 remaining.
Nevada was sluggish shooting-wise, shooting 37.9 percent from the floor and 28.6 percent from three. The offense will follow their defense, which took a step in the right direction compared to the preseason showcases, as their season goes along.
Nevada’s defense fixed it’s preseason woes on the defensive end from the perimeter, holding the Cougars to 19.4 percent shooting from deep, surrendering only six makes on 31 attempts. Nevada’s offense didn’t do too much better, draining eight threes on 28 attempts, after going 1-for-12 from deep in the first half.
Game Two – vs Pacific
Nevada Basketball has typically been stout the past couple of season in the shooting category.
Musselman has brought in two primary marksman in his Nevada tenure; Marcus Marshall — apart of the team in 2016-17 season — who broke a 20-year long record in three-point makes in a single season with 113, and Kendall Stephens — who was apart of last year’s team who broke Jimmer Fredette’s Mountain West record in three-point makes in a single season — making 126 threes in the regular season.
Caleb Martin drilled 100 threes last season, making 40 percent from three. But after his slow shooting start in two preseason showings and on opening night — shooting a combined 7-for-30 from deep — questions loomed whether or not Nevada would have the same shooting capability as in past years. As a team Nevada shot 18-for-76 from deep in those three games, translating to 23.7 percent.
The Pack offense answered that question, at least for now, drilling 15 threes on 31 attempts, a staggering 48.3 percent, in their rout over Pacific Friday night. The Pack came two threes shy from tying the school-record for most three-point makes in a single game, at 17, which was set last season — also against Pacific.
However, neither team shot well from the free throw line. Pacific shot 42.9 percent, going 6-for-14, missing their first six from the stripe. Nevada drew 28 fouls, leading to 18 makes on 27 attempts, translating to 66.7 percent.
After a scoreless game against BYU, Cody Martin his first points on the season, notching career double-double, dropping 11 points and ten assists.
Tre’Shawn Thurman produced another productive game on both ends, providing three blocks, adding 14 points and drained 3-of-4 three point attempts. Jordan Caroline tallied 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting, going 2-for-2 from deep.
After seeing only five minutes in the first game, McDonald’s All-American Jordan Brown saw 21 minutes of action, providing three blocks, along with five points and seven rebounds. Jazz Johnson continued his sweet shooting stroke, shooting 3-of-5 from the field — all three buckets were from beyond the arc.
Nevada trailed 12-11 with 11:09 remaining, but went on an 11-2 run in the following four minutes courtesy of three three-point makes — two by Thurman and one by Cody Martin — regaining the lead 22-14. Nevada’s lead got cut to three with under five minutes remaining in the first half, but the Wolf Pack recovered ending the half on a 10-4 run and going into the locker room with a 34-25 lead.
Nevada carried the same momentum from the first half into the second. Caleb Martin, for the second consecutive contest, stuffed the points stat in the second half only — scoring 22 points on 6-of-15 shooting and going 5-of-12 from deep.
Nevada jumped out to a 10-4 run to begin the half, hitting four of their first five shots, including two threes from Caroline and Martin, leading 44-29. Pacific was only able to cut the deficit to 13 points, 53-40, before going on a 19-7 run, commanding a 72-47 lead.
Nevada took control the rest of the game, finishing with a 22 point victory. The Pack defense suffocated the perimeter once again, forcing Pacific to only 25 percent shooting from long range and 41.7 percent from the field only making 25 of 60 shots.
The Pack will continue their home stand this week, playing one game next week against Arkansas-Little Rock on Friday, Nov. 16 at Lawlor Events Center.
Matt Hanifan can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @SagebrushSports.