Air Force Tops Nevada, 68-66, Teams Split Series
Falcons get a big conference win.
Nevada splits opening series
Nevada took care of business in their first conference game of the season, beating the Air Force Falcons 74-57. Desmond Cambridge Jr. kept his hot streak going as he led the game with 23 points on 7-16 from the field. Warren Washington gave the Wolf Pack a much needed boost scoring 16 points and grabbing seven rebounds. Nevada had no problem scoring the ball, shooting over 50% from the field and 38% from the three point line. It was the Wolf Pack’s scoring that ultimately secured them the win as their defense was mediocre once again.
In the first half, the Wolf Pack let the Falcons shoot a blistering 54% from the field and 40% from beyond the arch. Luckily, Nevada had no problem scoring the ball as well, shooting a red hot 58% from the field. Nevada took a slim 41-39 lead at half.
Both teams seemed to tighten up on the defensive side of the ball in the second half. Air Force only scored 18 points after the break which allowed Nevada to stretch the lead and eventually top the Falcons by 17 points. While Grant Sherfield only scored eight points, his help on the offensive side of the ball couldn’t be overstated as he had a career high nine assists.
The first of the two game series was on par for what we have been seeing all year from the Nevada Wolf Pack. High scoring totals from one of the Wolf Pack stars and hope Nevada’s offense can make up for their mediocre defense. Nevada did have a bright spot on the boards, out rebounding the Falcons 39-23. However, Nevada turned the ball over 19 times which is a trend that would carry over to the second game of the series.
Nevada played arguably one of their worst games of the season as Air Force beat the Wolf Pack 66-68 in the second and final game of the series. The Wolf Pack’s one-two punch failed to leave a mark on the Falcons as both Sherfield and Cambridge Jr combined for 19 points on 8-24 from the field and an abysmal 1-13 from beyond the arch. This game exploited the weakness that was bound to surface eventually for the Wolf Pack. Once Nevada’s star backcourt duo struggles, it is extremely difficult for Nevada to score any points. Pair the low point total with 10 second half turnovers and mediocre defense and we see how it’s incredibly possible that Nevada struggles against top tier teams in the Mountain West.
In the first half, Nevada benefited from tight defense and the Falcons inability to score from deep. Air Force shot 12% from beyond the arch and let Nevada grab six offensive rebounds which directly correlated to nine-second chance points. Nevada couldn’t buy a bucket from deep in this game and scored two shots from beyond the arch which was the only three-pointers they would make all game.
In the second half, Nevada failed to make a three, let the Falcons shoot 54% from the field and turned the ball over 10 times. This was the sloppiest half Nevada has played to date. Not only could the Wolf Pack not buy a bucket, Nevada shot 37% from the field and seemed to give up defensively. Zane Meeks is starting to look like the Wolf Pack’s third option on offense and led Nevada with 18 points on the day. Washington had a season-high 12 rebounds and shot a perfect 4-4 from the field finishing with eight points.
While the second game could have been an out of the ordinary and Nevada can still compete with the top teams in the league, this game really showed Coach Alford and staff what this young team needs to work on. While fans should be hesitant to claim the sky is falling, it is a bad look losing to one of the worst teams in the conference. One thing is for certain with this year’s Nevada basketball team, these players are young and inexperienced. Buckle up for a very rollercoaster type of year for the Wolf Pack.