The Nevada Wolf Pack showcased why defense wins championships in a 72-68 victory over the South Dakota State Jackrabbits Saturday night. The Pack shot just 34 percent from the field, but pulled away with a win due to a full-pledged defensive effort.
The Pack were welcomed by 11,257 and improved to 5-0 at home this season, they are 26-0 in non-conference home games since head coach Eric Musselman took over.
- The Wolf Pack shot 34 percent from the floor and 26 percent from three, but four players still scored in double figures. Jordan Caroline scored a game-high 21 points and nine rebounds. Caleb Martin followed with 20 points, 14 of which came in the first half. Trey Porter and Cody Martin both scored 12 points apiece.
- Launching threes: South Dakota State sagged-off on the three-point line and dared Nevada to launch away from behind the arc. Launch away they did, the Pack recorded a school record 39 three-point attempts, making 10 of them.
- Lack of spark: Junior guard Jazz Johnson missed his first game of the season after suffering a concussion against Grand Canyon. Johnson has been a spark plug off the bench this season, averaging 12.6 points per game.
- Same story: Nevada has had its share of sluggish first half starts, including their 40-33 deficit to South Dakota State at the halftime buzzer. Once again, the Pack regrouped and outscored the Jackrabbits 39-28 in the second half to secure the victory. Caroline did the honors this time during the waning seconds of the game.
- Nevada held South Dakota State to 42 percent shooting from the field. Porter limited Senior forward Mike Daum to a career-low five points on 1-10 shooting. David Jenkins was also held to just 5 points on 2-9 shooting with two turnovers. Both players averaged a combined 48.7 points per game heading into the contest.
- The Pack out-rebounded the Jackrabbits 72-68 and forced 15 turnovers. South Dakota State shot just 30 percent from the field in the second half.
- Foul game: Nevada committed just 12 personal fouls all game, that became crucial down the stretch when South Dakota State went 2-8 from the field in the last three minutes.
The Pack’s impressive defensive play showcased their versatility on both sides of the court. They can catch fire from the perimeter and limit their opponent’s chances of scoring on the other end. Nevada can play much better if they built some consistency during both halves as well.
The Wolf Pack will face the Akron Zips Dec. 22 at Lawlor Events Center. Akron is 6-4 this season, good for first place in the MAC East.