The Nevada Wolf Pack put up a valiant effort tonight as they went toe-to-toe with the Morehead State Eagles in a highly competitive, 40-minute contest. But in the end, Cameron Oliver's (12 points, eight rebounds) three-point attempt to tie the game at the end of the game, fell short and the Wolf Pack dropped Game 1 of the CBI Finals to the Eagles 86-83. It is the first loss for Nevada since losing in the Mountain West Tournament semifinals to San Diego State on March 11th. It is the first time this season that the Wolf Pack have lost a game despite shooting over 50 percent from the field.
It was a contest that had 16 ties and 13 lead changes and the game was not settled until the last sixty seconds. Nevada was down 86-83 when they fouled Morehead State's Xavier Moon (eight points, five rebounds) and Moon, who had previously made his last 22 free throws, missed both of his attempts and Nevada got the ball back with a chance to tie the game. Marqueze Colman's (ten points) three-point attempt with 20 seconds left in the game was no good but Tyron Criswell (31 points, seven rebounds) grabbed the rebound and the Wolf Pack called time out to run a play. Nevada could not get a clean look as the ball went off of an Eagles player with 4.9 seconds left. After another timeout, Oliver got a clean look for a three but missed as time expired thus giving the Eagles the win.
Nevada tonight had no answer for Morehead State's Lyonell Gaines. With Oliver in foul trouble and the Wolf Pack's lack of front court depth, Gaines had a career performance tonight as he scored 27 points and grabbed 14 rebounds as he propelled the Eagles to a 1-0 lead in the CBI's best-of-three championship series.
For Nevada, they must win on Wednesday to force a Game 3 on Friday night in Reno. Thankfully for the Wolf Pack, they are 14-3 this season at home and are 3-0 at home during the CBI Tournament. But the question for Nevada is can they stop Lyonell Gaines and an Eagles team that are 11-1 in their last 12 games? We will see on Wednesday night at the Lawlor Events Center at 7pm.