Nevada holds off Tulsa 96-86 To Remain Undefeated
Nevada remains undefeated, moves to 5-0
Wolf Pack score a season-high in points
In a somewhat ragged game with 50 fouls called Nevada managed to score a season-high 96 pts led by Mr. Double Double Jordan Caroline. Caroline finished with 25 points to go along with 11 boards to lead all scorers. While a win is always a good thing, one cannot help but think Coach Eric Musselman is not the happiest of campers simply based on the 6 assists versus 8 turnovers in the 96-86 win over Tulsa.
Part of the Wolf Pack brand since Musselman’s arrival four years ago has been the willingness to make the extra pass to create an even better shot. Caleb Martin who finished with 21 points continued his struggles on the offensive end of the court going 3-13 from behind the arc. While everyone has a bad shooting night from time to time, yes there will be nights when Jazz Johnson doesn’t shoot well, it is shot selection for Caleb that is of concern.
Early in the game Caleb was guilty of playing hero ball, with 20 seconds left on the shot clock he dribbled, dribbled, faked, faked and while still closely guarded threw up an attempt from 3 that barely drew iron. It wasn’t the only ill-advised shot of the night for Caleb but Nevada’s depth and physical play wore down a Tulsa team that refused to fold.
A number of times in the second half it appeared that the Wolf Pack was ready to cruise to another 20 points plus victory only to have a resilient Tulsa squad make a big play on the offensive end. Tulsa was led by guard Sterlin Taplin’s 22 points on 7 of 11 shooting from the floor while recording more assists than the entire Nevada team with 7.
Once again it was Caroline and Johnson along with some inspired play from Tre’Shawn Thurman that led the Wolf Pack. Caroline has been by far the most impressive player for Nevada this year, playing his relentless attacking style on offense and grabbing rebounds on both ends of the court. Caroline has shown that he is the engine that drives the Nevada train.
Caleb not scoring, Cody not playing well, no problem. This statement is what should send shivers down the spine of future Nevada opponents. Last year for Nevada to win they needed all the starters to play well, that however is not the case this year. Johnson continued his torrid shooting from distance as he hit 5-7 on 3 point attempts, most on simple catch and shoot situations. and upped his season percentage from behind the arc to 52%.
It was once again the defense that propelled Nevada to their 5-0 start and not their much heralded offense. Playing a switching tight man to man defense Nevada was able to often disrupt Tulsa’s offense with a deflected pass or belly button to belly button defense 20 feet away from the basket. Trey Porter continued his habit of influencing shots on the interior. While only recording 2 block Porter altered several others.
Tulsa managed only 7-23 from deep as Nevada’s newfound defense continues to keep opponents shooting a poor percentage from behind the arc. Depth and rim protection has allowed Nevada players to be more aggressive on defense and so far it has yielded positive results. Allowing Tulsa to shoot over 53% from the field overall however is not a good sign.
The Wolf Pack has a game tomorrow against UMass While there were some very good things to take away from the Tulsa game, and some not so good, there will be little time to correct the weaknesses.
Not all games will be pretty, and this one certainly wasn’t, but at the end of the day you look to see if it was a W or an L. Nevada was the better team and earned the win, and maybe more importantly grabbed Tulsa’s land, visit bustingbrackets.com for the map.