Nevada struggles in the second half, falls to Grand Canyon, 87-77
Wolf Pack fall to a WAC foe
The Nevada Wolf Pack went into GCU arena and got more than they could handle falling to the Antelopes 87 to 77. Javon Blacksher Jr. led the Antelopes with 22 points and four assists. Desmond Cambridge Jr. was the game’s leading scorer with 24 points on 7-15 from the field but didn’t have enough help to push the Wolf Pack past GCU.
The first half was a very high scoring affair as both teams hit their shots with ease. Both teams shot above 50% from the field and combined for 11 threes in the first half. It was the two transfers, Desmond Cambridge and Grant Sherfield, that shouldered the scoring load for Nevada. Cambridge’s 12 alongside Sherfield’s 11 points had the Pack up by one at the half. For the Antelopes, it was the Blacksher Jr show as he led GCU with 12 points at the break.
Defense was far and few between in the first half but GCU managed to go into the break with three blocks. It came down to turnovers with the Wolf Pack forcing GCU to turn the ball over 6 times and converting those turnovers into 13 points. Nevada also finished the half with 20 points in the paint compared to the GCU’s 14. Nevada entered the second half with a slim 44-43 lead.
The Wolf Pack’s slim lead did not last long as GCU took matters into their own hands going on a 14 to nothing run over a four minute span in the middle of the second half. After a Mikey Dixon made three pointer, the Antelopes were up 75-62 and never looked back. The Antelope had a slim advantage on the boards as they outrebounded the Wolf Pack 31 to 28.
Ultimately, it came down to Nevada’s inability to stop GCU’s offense. The Antelopes shot an absurd 57% from the field and 47% from deep. Nevada also scored at ease, finishing with a nice 45% from the field and 36% from deep. Nevada has had a problem stopping the three ball and this game proved to be more of the same. The Antelopes were scoring by committee shooting 9-19 from beyond the arch with five different players hitting from deep.
Nevada’s front court has come a long way with Warren Washington scoring 10 points, K.J. Hymes scoring nine and Zane Meeks finishing with seven. Pairing a strong front court with the back court duo of Sherfield and Cambridge, this Wolf Pack team has to be in the conversation of one of the top five teams in the Mountain West.
Nevada has one more game for this young and inexperienced team to get their defensive woes under control before the conference season starts. This Wolf Pack team has no problem scoring the ball, but they won’t be able to take on teams such as San Diego State, Boise state or Utah State come conference play if they don’t tighten up on the defensive side of the ball.
Next up for Nevada is their last non-conference game of the year against the University of San Diego Toreros (0-1) on Monday night in San Diego.