The Nevada Wolf Pack and the San Diego Toreros square off on Friday, Nov. 12 inside Lawlor Events in Reno, Nev. Tip-off will be at 7:00 p.m. PST.
Both teams picked up victories in their season openers. San Diego eviscerated La Verne, a Division III program, 103-38; Nevada opened with a 91-76 victory over Eastern Washington.
For the second consecutive game, the Pack will be up against a roster with substantial overhaul. San Diego welcomes 10 new additions, including St. Johns transfer Marcellus Earlington, Pittsburgh transfer Terrell Brown-Soares, Denver transfer Jase Townsend and Georgetown transfer TJ Berger, among others.
The Toreros return leading scorer Joey Calcaterra (13.3 ppg), who had 10 points on 3-of-6 shooting in 19 minutes on Tuesday, and Vladimir Pinchuk (7.6 ppg), who came off the bench on Tuesday despite starting in nine of the team’s 10 games last year.
Will the Pack pick up their second victory of the season before they hit the road? Let’s dive into the preview to find out!
Matchup: Nevada (1-0) vs. San Diego (1-0)
When: Friday, Nov. 12 at 7:00 p.m. PT
Where: Lawlor Events Center in Reno, Nev.
TV/Online: None / http://www.nevadawolfpack.com/watch
Spread: Nevada -14
Money line: Nevada -1100, San Diego +700
Last Meeting: Nevada won 79-72 (Dec. 14, 2020)
Matchup History: Nevada leads 12-4
San Diego had six double figure scorers in Tuesday’s annihilation, including a 15-point outing from Pinchuk on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting in 16 minutes off the bench. Yavuz Gultekin had 12 points with 11 rebounds and four assists in 20 bench minutes; Brown-Soares and Townsend had 13 points apiece while Earlington added 10 points with nine assists.
Much of that could be attributed to the simple fact that it was lambasting La Verne from the tip, so playing the starters more than 25 minutes wouldn’t make any sense. Thus, opening up additional opportunity for more scoring.
All but one of its 14 players scored at least one point — which nobody should foresee moving forward except if, you know, their up by [checks notes] 40-plus points?
That’s not to take away from any firepower that San Diego, who went 3-11 last year, can inflict on opponents with an improved — albeit new — roster.
Pinchuk, a 6-foot-11 center, averaged 7.6 points and 4.9 rebounds in 20.9 minutes per game in 2020-21. Calcaterra tallied 13.3 points with 3.1 rebounds and 1.0 steal, shooting 41.9 percent from the floor and 37.7 percent from distance.
In 118 career games at Pitt, Brown-Soares averaged 4.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.5 blocks — netting 45.4 percent of his shot. Over his final two seasons, he’s averaged 4.0 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 15.3 minutes per contest.
In three seasons (75 games) at St. Johns, Earlington averaged 6.8 points and 3.9 rebounds in 14.9 minutes per game. As a junior, the 6-foot-6 wing averaged 6.8 points and 4.1 rebounds while tallying 9.0 points and 4.7 rebounds as a sophomore. Over his career, he’s drained 44.8 percent of his attempts while sinking 35.2 percent of his 3-point attempts — boasting a career best 40.3 percent (on 2.5 attempts) in 2020-21.
For perspective on its potential newfound depth, Josh Parrish, the Toreros’ second-leading scorer from a year ago (10.5 ppg), had just two points in three minutes on Tuesday. The former TCU and Rice transfer was arguably the Toreros’ top addition last year and should be another key contributing piece in 2021-22.
Nevada is led by All-Conference guards Grant Sherfield, the Mountain West’s preseason player of the year nominee, and Desmond Cambridge.
Cambridge led Nevada with 22 points on 8-of-14 shooting, including 4-of-9 from distance, in Tuesday’s victory. Sherfield added 17 points on 7-of-16 shooting with a team-most nine assists. He led the Mountain West in assists (6.1) and steals (1.6 spg) while finishing second in scoring (18.6 ppg) a year ago.
In his first game with Nevada, 6-foot-7 wing AJ Bramah provided instant energy, efficiency and production off the Wolf Pack bench. He tallied 17 points on 8-of-9 shooting with a team-high nine rebounds in 23 minutes. Bramah transferred from Robert Morris, where he averaged 21.0 points and 10.3 rebounds in 12 games last season.
Nevada’s newly formed 7-foot duo had a productive evening. Warren Washington, Nevada’s third-leading scorer a year ago (10.0 ppg), had 15 points, eight rebounds and four blocks; Will Baker, a transfer from Texas, had 13 points and four rebounds.
Tuesday marked a more-than-obvious tune up for San Diego, but not as much for the Wolf Pack. Even with its 65-point victory, San Diego’s moved back two slots (No. 179 to No. 181) in Ken Pom’s latest rankings. Nevada moved back one spot — from No. 49 to No. 50. The Pack worked out some initial offensive kinks in its season-opener and showcased its enhanced depth. As head coach Steve Alford illuminated to multiple times in Tuesday’s postgame press conference, Nevada’s defense played well for the first 32 minutes before breaking down in the final eight after it led by nearly 20. Both teams traded baskets in that span, but the problems presented are solvable issues over a long season. There’s a little less uncertainty with San Diego than Eastern Washington because there’s more continuity, but I don’t think it should be enough to stop the Pack at home anyways. Nevada 83, San Diego 70 (Season record: 1-0)