Nevada Dispenses of USC 73-61 With Strong Second Half
Wolf Pack recover to have another double-digit win.
Hot second half propels Nevada to 8-0
The USC Trojans were projected to give 5th ranked Nevada their toughest test to date and they proved to be just that, at least in the first half. The Trojans came out hot on the offensive end of the court and utilizing an old fashioned 2-3 zone on defense they rattled Nevada. The Trojans led by as much a 7 points in the first half led by 6-11 center Nick Rakocevic’s 12 points on 6-8 shooting along with 7 rebounds.
Nevada used a late flurry to cut the lead to 1 at the half behind Tre’shawn Thurmans 11 points to go along with 7 rebounds. Thurman scored from deep and from above the rim in the last few minutes of the half leading the Wolf Packs surge right before intermission. Nevada looked like a fighter that had caught a punch with their chin and didn’t really know how to react.
An old basketball adage is that the first five minutes of each half are very critical and set the tone for the rest of the half. In the second half, Nevada came out and scored the first 9 points of the second half by way of a Porter dunk off a Caleb Martin lob and latter Caleb banking in a contested fade away three-pointer. 14 straight points spanning the intermission put Nevada in control with the game now being played in a style that favored the Wolf Pack.
While Nevada looked tentative at times during the first half they came out in attack mode in the second half. Playing better defense and shooting the ball better in the second half the Wolf Pack was able to stretch their lead to 17 before taking the air out of the ball with a little more than 6 minutes to play. Over the final eight minutes of the game, Nevada score all of eight points as their 1 on 1 stall game was stalled. The Trojans had no answer though and the final score of 73-61 was not indicative of how dominant Nevada looked in the second half.
In what was a character defining game the value of senior experience along with a coach that has a reputation of making halftime adjustments became evident. Caroline was once again Caroline as he went for 24 and 11 but it was a team effort that led to the impressive win. Thurman finished 14 points and 9 boards. Cody had 8 points to go along with 7 assists and Jazz Johnson continues to deliver from the bench getting 9 points but more importantly breaking down the defense with the dribble drive and kick.
The Wolf Pack is now 8-0 for the second consecutive year as the number of undefeated teams in the country is dwindling. By winning their second straight OOC game on the road against 2 pretty good teams, both by double digits, Nevada has lived up to the preseason hype so far. The Pack looked vulnerable for a sustained stretch in the first half in a hostile environment against a very talented squad, and responded the way great teams are supposed to respond.
Next up for Nevada is another Pac 12 conference foe in Arizona State also in Los Angles. Arizona State has played extremely well this year and maybe the best opportunity to get a marquee win for Nevada this year.