Cody Martin Hits Game Winner As Nevada Slips By Boise, 72-71
The Wolf Pack escaped with a win at Taco Bell Arena
Nevada holds off Boise State
Taco Bell Arena in Boise was waiting for the opportunity to explode all night long, however, for most of the night, Nevada was able to maintain a comfortable 5-10 point lead. It seemed that every time the Broncos would attempt to make a run the veteran Nevada team would respond, keeping the crowd quiet. The last 4 minutes of the game was a different story, albeit with the same ending.
The game was ultimately decided by a Cody Martin three-pointer from straight with just under five seconds left to play.
The real story of the game was fouls and foul shooting. Nevada came into the game as one of the best teams in the country at getting to the free throw line as well as being one of the best teams in the country at not fouling the opponent. The roles were reversed Tuesday night in Boise as Nevada not only had trouble getting to the line but finished play with 4 players on the court with 4 fouls.
The Wolf Pack only took four free throws in the second half making only one. Boise was a perfect 10-10 from the line in the second half and it was the nine-point advantage from the stripe that powered the Bronco’s second-half comeback that fell a mere point short. Caleb Martin was saddled with foul trouble early and played only 18 minutes for the entire game. When Caleb picked up his 4th foul with 13 minutes left to play Nevada had a five-point lead when he re-entered the game at the 4:44 mark the Wolf Pack was still clinging onto that 5 point lead.
It was the play of Derrick Alston that ignited the Broncos late second-half surge, and for a few brief moments, it looked like Nevada was going to suffer it’s second loss of the season as the Broncos went ahead on an Alex Hobbs jumper with a minute and a half to play. A missed Caleb 3 pointer by Nevada put the ball back in the hands of Boise and things were looking bad for Nevada. However, Boise acquiesced by missing, getting the rebound and missing once again. Jordan Caroline came down with the key defensive rebound with about 20 seconds left, down 2 and one last chance.
For Boise it had to be a heartbreaking experience as Cody Martin, shooting 20 percent from deep for the year drained a 3 pointer with 5 seconds to go in the game. Tenacious defense which included a deflection out of bounds led to a desperation shot by Jessup from about 40 feet away that never threatened the basket. In both their meetings last year Boise had last second shots to defeat Nevada but both failed to find the mark, and so the trend continues.
Caroline produced yet another double double with a 15 point 13 rebound performance, but it was Cody that led Nevada scoring with 16. The Wolf Pack had 5 players score in double figures while the Broncos were led by Hobbs 19 followed by Justinian Jessups 17. The rebounding game was rather even but give credit to Boise as they did a great job limiting Nevada to only 2 offensive rebounds. As well as Caroline has been playing he has been turning the ball over frequently and Tuesday night he accounted for half of the Wolf Packs 14 turnovers.
In many ways Boise presented a template for giving Nevada fits, don’t let the Pack hurt you on the offensive boards, change defenses with regularity and get as many Nevada players in foul trouble as possible. Even doing all that was not enough for the Broncos but it sure did make for an entertaining game. While Nevada fans would prefer every game to be a comfortable double-digit win these tightly contested games are not only exciting to watch but also prepare teams for postseason play where comfortable wins are few and far in between.
I would be remiss not to mention a couple of observations, the first being that when Nevada got their last possession trailing by two that they never called a timeout. Not calling a timeout in that situation capsulizes coach Eric Musselman‘s philosophy of play with this senior-laden team.
While most coaches would opt to take control of the situation by calling a timeout and setting up an offensive play Musselman believes and trusts his Seniors to know what to do and to execute. Competitors live for high-pressure moments and Cody is certainly a competitor and I can say with high confidence that when he took that last shot he was not thinking about his pedestrian shooting percentage from behind the arc but was instead only thinking about “net.”
Everywhere Nevada plays this season crowds showup, big crowds and the Taco Bell Arena had over 8,000 fans show up last night. Broncos fans were treated to a solid performance by their team and almost pulled off the upset. Next up for 17-1 Nevada is Air Force back at Lawlor Events Center Saturday. The Broncos are 8-9 overall and 3-1 in conference play, but things don’t get much easier as they next take on Fresno State next.