Game Recap: USC 76, Nevada 66
26 Points From Jazz Johnson Not Enough As Wolf Pack Loses To USC At Home.
Nevada suffers second loss of the season at home to USC.
This game should have been circled on Nevada fan’s calendars for a while now. Aside from maybe fellow Pac-12 member Utah’s game to start the season, Saturday’s game against the Trojans of Southern California was one of the tougher games on the Wolf Pack’s schedule.
Jalen Harris went into Saturday’s game pumped up after a 24 point performance in his first full game back in almost two years on Tuesday night. But that three-headed attack turned into a solo scoring effort, as senior guard Jazz Johnson led the team in scoring with 26 points on the night but failed to receive much help.
The Wolf Pack shot about 32% from the field as a team and only one other player besides Johnson scored in double figures. That was senior guard Lindsey Drew who despite having 12 points, 6 rebounds and five assists, has had a bit of an off week compared to week one of the season. Junior guard Jalen Harris scored 9 points going 3/19 from the field and 1/8 from three-point range. Nevada struggled against a larger team with a deeper bench but made it competitive enough to close the gap to ten as time expired.
One big issue for me going into Saturday was USC’s front court dept. Not only is there freshman Isaiah Mobley and Nick Rakocevic, but leading scorer, rebounder and blocker Onyeka Okongwu. Okongwu is a bulldozer at 6’9 245, but even he had a though night against the Wolf Pack. Okongwu finished with 11 rebounds and a block but only scored 6 points on 3/8 shooting.
Senior Nick Rakocevic led the Trojans with 24 points and 11 rebounds followed by graduate transfer Daniel Utomi who had 12 points and 4 rebounds. This was the biggest test of the season so far for Steve Alford‘s squad and they played well against a deeper PAC-12 team, though this was a perfect example of this Wolf Pack team playing through depth and chemistry issues in Alford’s first season.
Up Next: The Wolf Pack take on the Davidson Wildcats in North Carolina on Tuesday at 7:00PM EST/4:00PM PST. The Wildcats are 1-2 on the season but were predicted to finish 2nd in the Atlantic 10 and bring back reigning Atlantic 10 player of the year Jon Axel Gudmundsson. Look for it to be a battle of the back courts on Tuesday, as Davidson has another two-way threat in junior guard Kellan Grady.