Nevada pulls away late to beat BYU, 86-70
Caroline saved the day for the Wolf Pack
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Nevada notches it’s first win of the season
Nevada started out quickly, opening up a 8-0 lead to start the game before a crowd of 11,094. Cold shooting and early foul trouble for the Martin twins allowed BYU to get back in the game.
It was Trey Porter and Jordan Caroline carrying the early offensive load. With the game only 15 minutes old, Caroline had recorded his first of what will be many double doubles this year.
Caroline finished with 25 points and 16 boards. At half the score was all knotted up at 43, BYU was being led by Yoeli Childs their 6-8 Junior.
The first 7 ½ minutes were much like the first 20 with neither team shooting the ball well and BYU sticking around. At the 12:49 mark a Caroline driving layup would give Nevada a lead they would not relinquish.
A Tre’Shawn Thurman 3 followed by a Jazz Johnson 3 point play gave Nevada a seven-point lead. BYU wasn’t going away that easily and stayed within striking distance. A couple Caleb Martin and Johnson 3’s opened up the interior and a collective sigh could be felt as the Nevada offense the last 10 minutes of the game was in sync.
The game was much closer than the final score indicates and at the end of the day Nevada just had to much talent for BYU. Head coach Eric Musselman went to his bench early and often, part out of necessity when both of the Martin twins picked up their second fouls early in the first half, and part in an effort to learn how his player’s best fit together.
Thurman got the start over Freshman Jordan Brown and responded by playing what Mussleman called “phenomenal defense” as well as pulling down 9 rebounds in 21 minutes.
Caleb Martin went scoreless in the first half and came out in attack mode in the second half. He finished with 21 points thanks to 10-12 shooting from the charity stripe. Cody Martin failed to score but had 9 assists and 7 rebounds. Porter who left with an injury but seems to be all right scored 9 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocks in 22 minutes of play.
3 point shooting: Nevada was 1-12 from behind the arc the first half. Nevada has to do better from distance to open up the interior for the dribble drive. In the second half Nevada heated up and went 7-16 and pulled away.
Fast Break Points: BYU outscored Nevada 17-7 on fast break points. This is cause for concern on 2 fronts. Giving up 17 points on fast breaks is usually the result of mental mistakes. Only getting 7 on fast breaks usually indicates a team that is tentative in transition.
Things to feel better about if you are a Nevada fan
Defense: BYU is expected to be a very good offensive team again this year. While a sample size of 1 is statically worthless, the stats from this game are encouraging. BYU shot 38% from the floor and 19% from distance. These are the numbers to focus on, if Nevada can get these results defensively the future could be bright.
Caleb Martin: I am sure I am not the only one that noticed that Caleb performed well below expectations during their Silver and Blue scrimmage, the 2 exhibition games and the first half of the BYU game. I had the feeling Caleb was feeling the pressure from all the preseason accolades and hype. As if shaking off ropes that were holding him down Caleb attacked the basket in the second half, doing what he does best, scoring.
Who replaces Hallice Cooke? Often overlooked on last years squad was the role Hallice Cooke played. Yes he could shoot the 3, but it was the intensity he brought. On the bench or in the game, Cooke was always engaged; his demeanor screamed a desire to win.
Thurman seems to be stepping into that role nicely, we will however have to wait an see if he can save Mussleman from getting a couple of T’s the way Cooke did.