The Nevada Wolf Pack (6-3) defeated the Division II Fresno Pacific Sunbirds (4-3), 119-70. It is the second time the Wolf Pack have reached the 100-point mark this season.
Nevada dominated Fresno Pacific defensively early on, forcing turnovers, blocking shots, and holding the Sunbirds under 30% shooting in the first half. The Pack didn't even allow a bucket for the first seven minutes of the game.
However, turnovers killed Nevada in the first half, and they struggled to get much offense going. The Pack were at their best when they moved the ball around the perimeter and drove to the hoop. When their defense forced turnovers, they were able to push the tempo and find buckets in transition. After a late run, the Wolf Pack took a 17-point lead into halftime.
Nevada opened the second half hot offensively, as the guards were able to shoot from mid-range due to the Fresno Pacific defenders sagging off to protect against the drive.
The only negative out of this game was the injury to freshman G Juwan Anderson. After injuring his knee while playing in Hawaii, Anderson left the game with an injury. While we do not know the extent of the injury, it did look to be the same knee that was injured before.
G Tryon Criswell led the team with 26 points, and didn't miss a shot until late in the second half.
Freshman F Cameron Oliver wreaked havoc in the paint against the Sunbirds, scoring 16 points, and collecting 3 rebounds and blocking numerous shots. It was one of his best games in a Wolf Pack uniform, and if he's teamed with AJ West, the Wolf Pack could cause plenty of chaos down low for many teams this season.
While it's hard to take much out of a blowout win against a clearly inferior Division II team, Nevada's defensive prowess combined with an up-tempo offense is a dangerous combination for opposing teams. They'll still experience some growing pains under first-year coach Eric Musselman, but right now they look like serious contenders in the Mountain West.
Nevada's next matchup is against the Drake Bulldogs in the Mountain West-Missouri Valley Challenge.