Nevada Takes Care of San Jose State
Wolf Pack get the job done
Nevada wins a close.
In what would be a high-powered offensive night from both teams, Nevada outlasts San Jose State, 81-72, to continue the Spartan’s winless streak in conference play.
The Nevada Wolf Pack hosted the San Jose State Spartans Tuesday night, in what would be a hard-fought contest on both sides. The big news for San Jose State coming into this contest was 6’8 forward, Majok Kuath playing in just his third game of the season. Kuath would finish with an impressive nine points on 4-7 shooting and seven rebounds. Grant Sherfield was finally 100% healthy following his foot infection, finishing with 19 points and eight assists.
Both teams came out of the locker room looking to score. Will Baker was able to get things started for the Wolf Pack with two easy layups. The Spartans hit their first two field-goal attempts, including a Tibet Gorener three, putting an early five points on the board. Baker would have the first six of Nevada’s points, dominating down low. Both teams were shooting above 50% from both the field and beyond the arc, the Wolf Pack would lead 14-13 with 13 minutes left in the first half.
Nevada made no secret of their game plan early, taking advantage of their height and feeding the post with 12 of their first 16 points coming from inside the paint. With six minutes left in the half, the Spartans went on a 12-3 run, putting San Jose State up 28-19. This was fueled by the pairing of Omari Moore scoring a quick eight points and Gorener shooting 3-4 from deep. Nevada was able to claw back to tie things up at 35 with two minutes left in the first half. The Spartans were able to grab the lead going into the halftime break, 43-39.
The Spartans would dominate down low in the first half, despite the height mismatch in Nevada’s favor. San Jose State would have an impressive 20 rebounds to Nevada’s six. The Spartans would go into the locker room with more offensive rebounds (9) than the Wolf Pack would have total rebounds. Desmond Cambridge was able to continue his ridiculously hot shooting streak, finishing with 14 points, shooting 4-7 from the field and 4-5 from deep. San Jose State looked as if they were playing against a nonexistent defense, shooting 50% from both the field and beyond the arc. Gorener led the Spartans with 11 points, but almost every San Jose State player that touched the court had a bucket. Somehow Nevada averaged 54% from the field and 80% from deep.
Myron Amy would continue the Spartan run, draining a three to put San Jose State back up by five with 18 minutes left in the contest. Four quick points by Baker down low brought the Wolf Pack to within one, 46-45 at the U16 media timeout. Grant Sherfield scored a quick six points to points the Wolf Pack up three with 11 minutes left. A pair of Spartan threes would put San Jose State up two, 62-60 with just seven minutes left in the game. A back and forth battle down the stretch brought the game to within three with Nevada up 71-68 with three minutes left. Will Baker was able to excel down the stretch, scoring seven of eight shots for 14 points in the closing minutes. The Wolf Pack were able to hang on, winning the hard-fought contest, 81-72.
Despite the loss, it was a barrage of threes from San Jose State. The Spartans made 14 baskets from beyond the arc, shooting an efficient 44% from deep. San Jose State was led by Omari Moore who finished with 22 points including four threes. Moore also added six rebounds and four assists to the game total. The Spartans looked to Gorener down the stretch as well. The 6’9 Freshman had 14 points adding four shots from beyond the arc.
Nevada was glad to have Grant Sherfield back in the mix. In Sherfiled’s second game back from injury, the 6’2 junior finished with 19 points and eight assists. Nevada as a whole shot the lights out of the gym. The Wolf Pack shot 56% from the field and 55% from beyond the arc. Nevada was also aggressive on the boards in the second half, bringing the rebounding total to 31-28 with the Spartans just narrowly edging by.
While Nevada’s guards once again shined, it was 7’0 Will Baker who takes tonight’s Most Valuable Player award. Baker had 23 points, on 11-13 from the field, and six rebounds. What may be most impressive is that the big man had to sit the majority of the first half due to foul trouble. When Baker was on the court, Nevada was able to compete on the boards and supply an offensive threat on the block, which drew double-teams. This is great news for Nevada as shots will start to open up for Sherfield and Desmond Cambridge Jr., who usually have to fight tooth and nail to get a decent shot off. When double-teams weren’t supplied, Baker made the Spartan’s pay, which the Wolf Pack has been desperately needing this season.
Since this contest on Tuesday was a rescheduled competition due to COVID, both teams will face each other once again on Thursday as Nevada (11-13, 5-8) travels to the Bay Area to face San Jose State (7-8, 0-13).