Nevada defeats UMass 110-87 in finals of Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational
The Wolf Pack had no issues dispatching of the Minutemen
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Nevada makes an emphatic statement
UMass and Nevada squared off for the finals of one of the brackets of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Holiday Invitational in what promised to be a high scoring affair. The previous night Nevada had kept the scoreboard busy putting up 96 against Tulsa while UMass dropped 84 on Southern Illinois. It was an offensive display by both teams but in the end, the Wolf Pack from Nevada just had too much firepower from too many players.
UMass kept the game close in the first half as both teams were shooting lights out. At the halfway point the Wolf Pack had a nervous 56-49 lead. As the second half progressed it was Nevada’s depth and an inspired Caleb Martin that continually pushed the Wolf Pack lead to double digits. Let’s dispense of the gaudy stats so we can get down to what’s fun, conjecture.
Nevada shot an impressive 61% from the floor and 50% from deep on 11-22 shooting from beyond the arc. Caleb finished with 29 points including 6-10 from three an incredible 80% effective field goal percentage. Tre’Shawn Thurman continued his impressive play putting up 22 points, 19 in the first half to go along with 8 boards. Mr. Double Double Jordan Caroline started out slow but finished with yet another double-double finishing with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
UMass was no slouch on the offensive end as they canned 15 from 3 at a 42% clip. Luwane Pipkins led all scorers with 30 points behind 6-14 shooting from 3 point land. As a team, the Minutemen shot almost 39% from beyond and had 5 players score in double figures. And yes, they lost by 23.
Let’s talk science for a moment. Chemistry is a buzzword when talking to players and coaches, especially early in the season. It is with good reason that team chemistry is often a topic of discussion, in team sports talent by and of itself is not enough to win at the highest level. Every championship team has role players that can elevate the level of play of their teammates by bringing energy, enthusiasm and effort when called upon.
DNA isn’t tossed in Basketball circles as often as Chemistry, but to coach Eric Musselman it is just as important. The DNA of a team is their core identity, once you strip away all the numbers and analytics. Virginia has a very clear DNA, they are a team that is going be patient on the offensive end and will contest and disrupt everything on the defensive end. I would suggest that what we have seen out of Nevada the last two games is the Wolf Packs DNA.
Coach Musselman has talked on a number of occasions about how good offensive players are seldom good on defensively and conversely, good defensive players usually are just OK on the offensive end. Musselman loves offense and loves players that can score.