vs Loyola Chicago
By Ryan Freeberg
Nevada traveled to Chicago on Tuesday for a Sweet Sixteen rematch with Loyola Chicago, the school responsible for eliminating the Wolf Pack from the NCAA Tournament during the Sweet 16 a season ago. The Pack used this as motivation as they decisively won the matchup, 79-65.
The Martin twins led the team with a combined 41 points each making more than 60 percent of their field goals. The twins were also effective in the passing game as Caleb finished with five assists and Cody finished with seven.
Jordan Caroline continued to build on his impressive senior season, going 60 percent from the field and recorded one basket from beyond the arc. Caroline finished with 15 points shooting only three free throws.
The Nevada defense was the real difference maker in this battle. Nevada’s defense held the Loyola offense to a 43 field goal percentage and forced 12 turnovers. Tre’Shawn Thurman led the team with eight defensive rebounds. Trey Porter followed closely behind with six of his own, adding four offensive rebounds, for a total of 10. Porter added 14 points finishing with his first double-double of the season.
Despite the overall dominant performance by Nevada, Loyola’s junior guard Marques Townes kept the Ramblers in fighting spirit throughout the match. Townes was the top scorer of the night, scoring 24 points in his 37 minutes on the court. He proved to be versatile, providing Loyola with points from the paint and from the beyond the arc. In addition, Townes was exceptional from the three-point line, scoring on three of his four attempts.
The game started with the Wolf Pack going on a 14-4 run in the first five minutes of play, the stretch was highlighted by two Caleb Martin three-point jumpers.
Seven and a half minutes in Loyola cut the deficit to 10 — the smallest of the night — after Bruno Skokna’s free throw made it a 20-10 game.
Following the free throw, Nevada settled back into their groove and sparked an 18-8 stretch that was capped off with a three-point shot from Cody Martin, pushing Nevada’s lead to 38-18. The 20-point advantage was the Pack’s largest lead of the night.
The final score of the first half came off a Porter layup — rebounding the ball after Caleb Martin missed a jumper. Porter’s score kept Nevada in command as they entered the half up 44-28.
The second half saw Nevada and Loyola going shot for shot with each other but Nevada kept their cushion. Loyola started to nip at the heels of Nevada, going on a 12-6 run with just over two minutes left in the game, shrinking the Wolf Pack’s lead to 11 points.
This was Loyola’s last push, as head coach Eric Musselman and his team only allowed five more points from the Ramblers the rest of the game.
By Isaiah Burrows
The fifth-ranked Nevada men’s basketball team faced their most difficult test yet this season in a 73-61 victory over USC Saturday.
The Trojans’ 35-34 lead marked the Pack’s first halftime deficit this season, but crucial second-half adjustments on both ends of the floor kept Nevada’s record a spotless 8-0. The Wolf Pack outscored the Trojans 39-26 in the second half, including four three-pointers and nine free throws to grab a double-digit lead. They’ve won all eight games by 12 points or more this season.
Jordan Caroline led all scorers with 24 points and added a team-high 11 rebounds for his sixth double-double this season. He also passed Luke Babbitt for 15th on the Nevada all-time scoring list with 1,631 points in his collegiate career.
Tre’Shawn Thurman’s 14 points and nine rebounds kept Nevada’s offense afloat for much of the first half. He’s recorded a season-high nine rebounds three times this season.
The Martin twins combined for 20 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds on 8-19 shooting from the field. Despite their offensive struggles, both players served as distributors in the open court.
The Trojan’s 2-3 zone defense gave Nevada headaches from the perimeter, but the inside forces of Caroline and Thurman kept the game at a headlock during the early stages of the game.
USC’s Nick Rakocevic put on a clinic in the paint as well. The 6’11” forward used his size to take advantage of a shorter Caroline in the post. Combine that with the outside shooting of Jordan Usher and Nevada was down a season-high seven points, 33-26 with under five left in the first half. The Pack clawed their way back with consecutive threes from Caroline and Thurman. Thurman’s alley-oop slam just before the buzzer trimmed their deficit to one point.
Nevada’s 13-2 run to start the second half swung the lead back in their favor. Head coach Eric Musselman’s substitution of guard Jazz Johnson poked holes in the Trojan’s zone. Johnson buried two threes to put the Pack up by double-digits with under 14 minutes remaining.
Defensively, Musselman switched senior Trey Porter onto Rakocevic. Porter’s length and athleticism bothered Rakocevic down low and kept him in check for the rest of the game. Rakocevic tallied just eight points in the second half. The Trojans were held to 43 percent shooting in the second half.
The Pack returned to their familiar scoring ways in the waning minutes, slamming down dunks in transition and adding points from the stripe. They put the game away with another six points in the final two minutes.
The Wolf Pack will return to Los Angeles to face a different Pac-12 opponent Arizona State on Friday, Dec. 7. Both schools will put their unbeaten records on the line as the Sun Devils are a perfect 7-0 to start the season.
Isaiah Burrows and Ryan Freeberg can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @SagebrushSports.