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Wolf Pack opponent basketball preview: Nevada seeks eighth straight over UNLV

David Calvert || Nevada Athletics Department

The Nevada Wolf Pack seeks the series sweep over its intrastate rival UNLV Tuesday at Lawlor Events Center in Reno, Nev. Tipoff will be at 6 p.m. PST on CBS Sports Network.

Nevada demolished the Rebels 89-60 Sunday in the series opener. The Pack shot 58.3 percent from deep and hit 14 3s in the dominant effort. The Rebels were missing leading scorer Bryce Hamilton due to an ankle injury.

The Pack are 6-2 at home, while UNLV is 1-6 away from Thomas & Mack Center this season. The Pack own a program-best seven game win streak over UNLV, including victories in 13 of the last 17 games.

Nevada (11-7, 6-5) vs. UNLV (6-8, 3-4)

When: Monday, Feb. 2 at 6:00 p.m. PST

Where: Lawlor Events Center in Reno, Nev.

TV: CBS Sports Network

Online: CBS Sports Network

Matchup history: UNLV leads 60-32

Last meeting: Nevada won 89-60 (Jan. 31, 2021)

Breakdown:

UNLV ranks No. 7 in the conference in scoring (72.3 ppg), No. 8 in field goal percentage (.436) and No. 4 in 3-point percentage (.357). It nets 9.6 3-pointers per game — the third-most in the conference — while attempting 46.8 percent of its field goal attempts from outside.

As previously mentioned, UNLV was without leading scorer Bryce Hamilton Sunday due to an ankle injury. Hamilton averages 18.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game, shooting 42.2 percent from the floor and 32.4 from beyond the arc in 12 games.

The group was led by David Jenkins Jr., the team’s second-best scorer, and Moses Wood. Both tallied 13 points apiece. Jenkins shot 4-of-12 from the floor and 3-of-5 from deep; Wood went 4-for-12 and 3-of-11 from deep.

On the season, Jenkins is averaging 15.6 points on 41.1 percent shooting and 43.2 percent from deep. He leads the team in both 3-point percentage and 3-pointers made per game (2.9).

Hamilton and Jenkins are the team’s only two double-digit scorers. Caleb Grill, who had 11 points Sunday, is averaging 9.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.6 steals per contest. Grill trails Jenkins for the team-lead in 3-pointers made per game (2.2).

Wood has proved to be a capable stretch-four. In three starts since getting inserted to the starting lineup for the first time since joining the Rebels, he is averaging 11.3 points on 36.8 percent shooting from 3-point range on 6.3 attempts from outside.

In 14 games this season, Wood is tallying 6.2 points and 3.8 rebounds per game on 38.6 percent shooting. Over 65 percent of his field goal attempts come from beyond the arc.

The Pack are one spot above the Rebels in the Mountain West in scoring at 73.2 points per game, but one spot behind in field goal efficiency (.444). They are No. 6 in the conference in 3-point percentage (.344) and No. 5 in 3-point makes per contest (7.5).

Nevada is led by guard Grant Sherfield, who is averaging team-highs in scoring (18.3 ppg), assists (5.5 apg) and steals (1.6 spg) — placing top-5 in the Mountain West in each of those three categories. He is knocking down 43.5 percent of his shot attempts and 36.5 percent from outside.

The 6-foot-2 guard leads the Mountain West in total points (330), field goals (103), free throw makes (93) and steals (28).

In Sunday’s win, Sherfield tallied 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting with a career-high 11 assists — his first career double-double. Eight of his assists resulted in 3-pointers.

Desmond Cambridge is Nevada’s only other double figure scorer. The 6-foot-4 guard is averaging 15.3 points on 40.6 percent shooting. He is also second on the team in assists (2.5 apg) and third in rebounding (4.6 rpg). Cambridge had a team-high 17 points in Sunday’s win.

After missing the previous three games to knee soreness, 6-foot-11 forward Zane Meeks returned to action Sunday. He had 11 points on 2-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc in 18 minutes off the bench. In 15 games (10 starts), Meeks is averaging 9.3 points with a team-high 5.9 rebounds on 48.5 percent shooting and 39.5 percent shooting from deep.

Prediction:

  • Nevada: 76
  • UNLV: 70

I did not anticipate a 29-point blowout, as seen in my 72-68 prediction heading into Sunday’s -game. I also thought Hamilton was going to play — it was announced an hour before that he wasn’t, though he was listed as “questionable” prior to the game. Sunday marked UNLV’s fourth game in 10 days, while Nevada had a week to prepare. If Hamilton plays Tuesday, it should be a much closer game. UNLV also had its third-worst game of the season in terms of field goal percentage and its fourth-worst from deep. Nevada also had its best shooting performance of the season. For both sides, I don’t see those numbers carrying over. Season record: 13-5

Projected Starting 5:

No. 5 Nevada Wolf Pack (16-9, 10-7)

Position Number Name Class Height PPG RPG APG FG% 3P%
Position Number Name Class Height PPG RPG APG FG% 3P%
G 25 Grant Sherfield Soph. 6-2 18.3 3.7 6.1 43.5 36.9
G 4 Desmond Cambridge Jr. 6-4 16.3 4.4 2.4 41.6 35.4
G 14 Tre Coleman Fr. 6-7 5.7 3.0 1.8 42.5 37.1
F 20 Daniel Foster Fr. 6-6 4.3 2.6 1.5 48.6 45.5
F 5 Warren Washington Soph. 7-0 9.6 5.8 0.8 57.4 ------ (0-1)

UNLV Rebels (6-8, 3-4)

Position Number Name Class Height PPG RPG APG FG% 3P%
Position Number Name Class Height PPG RPG APG FG% 3P%
G 13 Bryce Hamilton Jr. 6-4 18.3 5.5 3.7 42.2 32.4
G 5 David Jenkins Jr. Jr. 6-2 15.8 2.5 1.8 41.6 42.2
G 3 Caleb Grill Soph. 6-3 9.6 3.1 1.8 41.1 35.7
F 1 Moses Wood Soph. 6-8 5.7 3.7 1.0 41.8 40.0
F 34 Cheikh Mbacke Diong Sr. 6-11 8.8 8.6 0.4 66.7 ------ (0-1)

Additional links:

Nevada Game Notes: https://bit.ly/36pHU3u

UNLV Game Notes: https://bit.ly/3ajc3CJ

Live Stats: https://bit.ly/2YsGYaa