While you might have been watching NFL Football on Thanksgiving Day (a common tradition in my household, I must admit), there was some good Mountain West basketball on between the Nevada Wolf Pack and the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Golden Window Classic.
If you didn’t know Grant Sherfield’s name before, you do now.
The Wichita State transfer scored Nevada’s final seven points, including its biggest shot two games into the season.
After forcing a Lat Mayen turnover, the sophomore guard dribbled the ball up the floor with :35 seconds to go, the game knotted at 66. Sherfield let the clock run down with Nebraska’s Dalano Banton, a lengthy 6-foot-8 forward, across from him at the arc above the break.
A hesitation plus an in-and-out dribble created just enough time and separation for the 6-foot-2 Sherfield to pull-up from deep over the outstretched Banton. The shot swished through the rim with 6.8 seconds to go, awarding the Wolf Pack with a 69-66 lead.
Nebraska head coach Fred Hoiberg burned his final timeout. Banton dribbled it up the floor looking for one last chance to tie it. His 24-foot contested 3-pointer over Robby Robinson clanked off the front of the rim as the buzzer sounded as Nevada, in a come-from-behind performance after trailing by 10, walked away with the victory.
Its nail-biting 69-66 victory over the Cornhuskers improves its record to 2-0, while Nebraska drops to 1-1. The Cornhuskers have lost 18 of out their last 19 games.
Though the game was held on Nebraska’s home court in Lincoln, Neb., it was considered a neutral-site game.
Nevada shot 48.0 percent from the floor and 28.6 percent from beyond the arc. The Pack had just two 3-pointers in the second half — six on the game (on 21 attempts) — both from Sherfield.
Sherfield led the Pack with 19 points — 16 coming in the second half. He shot 4-of-13 from the floor but 9-of-12 from the free throw line, adding six rebounds and six assists. Desmond Cambridge had 18 points on 7-of-17 shooting with five boards.
The Pack defense halted a potent Nebraska attack that chalked up 102 points Wednesday versus McNeese State. Though its percentages improved marginally in the second half, the Cornhuskers connected on just 29.0 percent of their attempts from the floor. The team hucked up 41 3-pointers and made just nine.
Nevada hounded the Cornhuskers on the glass, out-rebounding the lengthy squad 49-31. Five Pack players had five or more rebounds — Robinson finishing with a team-high nine.
After totaling 17 offensive rebounds with 12 second-chance points a day prior, Nebraska had 11 offensive boards with 13 second-chance points.
Both teams left points on the board from the stripe. Despite making its final 10 free throws, Nevada finished 15-of-22; Nebraska went 21-of-30 from the line.
Banton led the Cornhuskers with 18 points on 6-of-17 shooting. Teddy Allen added 17 points with six rebounds and five steals.
The frisky Nebraska defense created 21 Wolf Pack turnovers — its second straight outing forcing 20-plus turnovers — that translated into 20 points. It also had 12 steals.
The Wolf Pack began the game sloppy, turning the ball over on their first three possessions and committing four fouls in the game’s first two minutes, 10 seconds.
After its dreadful start, Nevada climbed back into it. A dazzling dime from Sherfield to Zane Meeks, who finished eight points, for the layup on the fastbreak cut Nebraska’s early advantage to 10-9 with 14:32 remaining in the first half.
A posterizing slam from Cambridge over forward Yvan Ouedraogo gave the Wolf Pack their first lead of the game 17-15.
DESMOND CAMBRIDGE OVER YVAN OUEDRAOGO!!!— Pack Center (@PackCenterNV) November 26, 2020
Looks like there’s some stuffing on his Thanksgiving menu.
Cambridge scored 16 of Nevada’s final 20 points of the first half. The Wolf Pack entered halftime with a 35-29 advantage.
Similarly to the start of the game, Nevada began the second half sluggish. It picked up three quick fouls with three turnovers in the half’s first two minutes, 31 seconds.
A spinning jump hook from Sherfield gave Nevada the 39-33 lead. A 22-6 run by the Cornhuskers gave them a 55-45 advantage — their largest lead on the afternoon.
The Pack climbed back into the contest. They finally started knocking down their free throws after getting into the double bonus with 12:45 left in the second half. Four free throws (two apiece from Cambridge and K.J. Hymes apiece) plus a Robinson layup cut the lead to 55-51 with 7:47 remaining.
Hymes gave Nevada its first lead since the 13:20 mark in the second half on a wide-open fastbreak dunk.
Nebraska’s final lead after a converted and-1 from Banton with 54 ticks to go — giving them a 66-64 lead. Sherfield, who is averaging 16.5 points through two games, closed it out.
Nevada travels back to Reno and will face the Pacific Tigers on Monday at Lawlor Events Center.
Nebraska concludes its two-game stretch of the Golden Window Classic with North Dakota State, who Nevada beat 62-48, on Saturday.