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Revenge game: Nevada avenges their postseason defeat to Loyola Chicago

Fifth-ranked Wolf Pack improve to 7-0 this season.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-South Regional-Loyola vs Nevada Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The fifth-ranked Nevada Wolf Pack tasted a bit of sweet redemption against NCAA Tournament foe Loyola Chicago in a 79-65 win at Gentile Arena Tuesday. Dating back to last year in Atlanta, the Wolf Pack suffered a heartbreaking 69-68 loss to the Ramblers in the Sweet Sixteen.

The Pack improved to 7-0 on the season and are in the midst of a six-game non-conference road trip. Plenty more is in store as they will face every team’s best shot from here on out.

THE RUNDOWN:

OFFENSE:

  • Nevada shot a scorching-hot 52 percent from the field and hit 11 of their first 15 shots to start the game. The bulk of the scoring was shouldered by Caleb and Cody Martin. Caleb tallied a game-high 21 points on 9-14 shooting, including a season-high 17 in the first half. Cody added 20 points and dished out seven assists, his 43 assists leads the team and has committed just 11 turnovers. Senior transfer Trey Porter chipped in with a season-high 14 points and 10 rebounds, marking his first double-double this season.
  • The Wolf Pack scored the first points of the game, led at halftime and out-rebounded Loyola Chicago 33-29. The Pack bullied the Ramblers inside with 48 points in the paint. When they failed to find easy points from the free-throw line, Nevada found their groove from the perimeter and nailed six three pointers at a 43 percent clip.
  • Sweet Caroline: Forward Jordan Caroline scored his 1300th point with Nevada and 1600th of his collegiate career. HIs 1,304 points in the Silver and Blue places him 16th in Wolf pack history. Caroline was the fourth player in double figures with 15 points and 6 rebounds.
  • While Caleb Martin possesses elite scoring traits, his playmaking ability was key to securing an early lead and they never looked back. Whether he was in the half-court setting or out in transition, Martin kept his head up and displayed great court vision, especially this one-handed bounce pass to Cody for the dunk.

DEFENSE:

  • Nevada held Loyola to 43 percent shooting from the field and 35 percent behind the arc. The Wolf Pack suffocated the Ramblers inside and forced several contested shots from the perimeter. Marques Townes was the primary contributor offensively with a game-high 24 points on 9-19 shooting. The rest of the team combined for 41 points on 17-41 shooting from the field. Nevada also forced 12 turnovers, leading to easy scoring opportunities in transition.
  • The Wolf Pack limited sophomore center Cameron Krutwig to just 11 points and six rebounds. Head coach Eric Musselman threw multiple bodies at Krutwig in the paint, and the defensive trio of Caroline, Porter and freshman forward Jordan Brown forced the ball out of his hands on multiple occasions. Musselman also utilized a small-ball lineup of Caroline, Jazz Johnson, Porter and the Martin twins and used its speed to turn Krutwig into a liability on the other end.

Final Thoughts:

The Nevada Wolf Pack can attack the opposition from multiple angles, and Musselman has the depth at his disposal to tinker with various lineups as the season treads along to find the right recipe come tournament play. Nevada’s dominant victory was a huge morale boost for the squad and they displayed why they’re one of the elite teams in the country. They can score on all three levels offensively and take teams out of their comfort zone defensively. This team is experienced from the top down, and that will become a crucial component down the stretch.

Next Up:

Nevada will face-off against their first PAC-12 opponent in the USC Trojans Saturday Dec. 1. The Trojans are 4-2 and play the Long Beach State 49ers before taking on the Wolf Pack. The Pack return home to Lawlor Events Center Dec. 15.