No.5 Nevada vs. Loyola-Chicago: Wolf Pack Get Sweet, Sweet Revenge

No.5 Nevada vs. Loyola-Chicago: Wolf Pack Get Sweet, Sweet Revenge

Mountain West Basketball

No.5 Nevada vs. Loyola-Chicago: Wolf Pack Get Sweet, Sweet Revenge


No.5 Nevada vs. Loyola-Chicago: Wolf Pack Get Sweet, Sweet Revenge


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Martin brothers help carry Nevada in Sweet 16 rematch

On Tuesday night, No.5 Nevada faced off in Chicago, Illinois against the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers. The same Ramblers that ended the Wolf Pack’s 2018 NCAA tournament run. Three of Nevada’s starters, Cody Martin, Caleb Martin, and Jordan Caroline were part of that team that fell to Loyola. Loyola would eventually advance to the Final Four last March and Nevada had been waiting 250 days for the long-awaited rematch. With Loyola’s giant Final Four banner hanging over their heads, they got their revenge, 79-65.

Loyola students lined the exterior of the Joseph J. Gentile Center nearly five hours before tip to get a front row seat to the Sweet 16 rematch that was to be aired on ESPN News. In Nevada’s first true road game, they blasted out of the gates to a 25-7 lead in the first eight minutes in front of a rowdy and sold out Chicago crowd- it was mostly smooth sailing from there. Nevada’s game plan was executed to near perfection and Loyola really never had much of a chance after Trey Porter won the tip just after 5pm PT.

Nevada has five senior starters, is as deep as anyone in the nation, and their experience has been proven more and more every game they have played this season. They’re a team that is extremely well coached and goes into every game prepared. They can play fast, slow, big, small- you name it. Most definitely one of the most entertaining college basketball programs in the country.

As CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein mentioned on Twitter last night, “Would put the Wolf Pack’s top three against any top three in America. Eric Musselman’s team is appointment TV.” This Nevada squad is something special, and along with the highest ranked team in Wolf Pack history, Nevada fans are also living the dream.

It’s debatable who the most exciting duos are in college basketball, though Caleb and Cody Martin, Nevada’s “Martwins” that both stand 6’7, are definitely in the conversation. They showed exactly why against Loyola. Caleb scored 21 points while Cody added 20, and nearly matched Loyola in the first half by themselves (26-28). The Martins put on a clinic in Chicago and showed a variety of their skills to prove they’re both NBA-bound.

Preseason All-American, Caleb Martin, came out on fire in the first half and unloaded 17 points as Cody, Nevada’s PG and floor general dropped 9, and facilitated Nevada’s pro style offense to a T. Nevada was the definition of “firing on all cylinders” for the first 20 minutes before Loyola was able to make some adjustments at the break to slow the Wolf Pack’s nearly unstoppable offensive attack. The brothers combined for five made threes and both are shooting 38% from deep this season.

Nevada’s size advantage continues to cause numerous problems for oppositions this season with their shortest starters being the Martin twins. The Wolf Pack outrebounded the Ramblers 33-28 while finishing the night with six blocks, seven steals, and turned Loyola over 12 times. Nevada had just seven turnovers for their third game in a row. Nevada ranks #1 in the nation in team turnovers per offensive play, at just 10.5%.

Nevada held Loyola to 43% from the field. Cameron Krutwig, who had one of the nations top field goal percentages, was only able to knock down five shots on 11 attempts on the night, mostly thanks to the length and athleticism of Nevada’s Trey Porter down low.

The Wolf Pack shot above their season average from the field and connected on 58% of their attempts, including 43% from three. They rank #22 in the nation in FG% at exactly 50%.

Loyola’s Marques Townes, who made the dagger late in the sweet 16 game to end Nevada’s hopes, led the Ramblers with 24 points. Townes finished one rebound short of a double-double with nine, hit three shots from deep, and single-handedly helped Loyola avoid a blowout.

Nevada’s Trey Porter was the only player to record a double-double in the game with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Porter shot 7-9 from the field in 29 minutes and also had two blocks.

Jordan Caroline had a quiet 15 points on 6-10 from the field while snatching six rebounds and dishing out one assist. Caroline is the master of drawing fouls in the paint and surprisingly only got to the free-throw line three times against a defensive-minded Loyola team. It was only the second time in Nevada’s seven games this season that Caroline didn’t record a double-double.

If the nation wasn’t on notice about the Nevada Wolf Pack yet, they should be now. This team is the real deal.

Nevada will travel to play their second true road game this Saturday at USC as Loyola-Chicago will head just a few miles north to face UIC and attempt to avoid a third straight loss.

 

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