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Nevada named 2023 Diamond Head Classic Champions after beating Georgia Tech 72-64

Nevada builds its case for a Top 25 ranking.

Syndication: Reno Gazette Journal JASON BEAN/RGJ / USA TODAY NETWORK

If there’s a case to be made for Nevada to be ranked, that conversation starts now. The Wolf Pack dominated through the Diamond Head Classic, including winning the back-and-forth championship game against Georgia Tech.

It was a bit of revenge for Nevada fans for the 2004 Sweet Sixteen loss to the Yellow Jackets. While this was no March Madness game, the Wolf Pack deserves to be in the conversation for AP’s Top 25.

Scoring Summary

1st Half

Nevada 36 - Georgia Tech 30

2nd Half

Nevada 36 - Georgia Tech 34

Final: Nevada 72, Georgia Tech 64

Offense

Jarod Lucas and Kenan Blackshear ran away with this one with 50 points combined. Blackshear led the team with 30 points, shooting 11-14 from the floor and 8-11 from the free-throw line. He also collected five rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block.

Lucas was the second-best scorer for the Pack with 20 points. He got the three-point shooting going for Nevada going 4-7. As a team, Nevada shot 7-22 from beyond the arc, with Lucas being the leader of that department.

The Pack shot nearly 50 percent from the floor and 65 percent from the free-throw line. While the three-point shooting continues improving, Blackshear proved there are other ways to dominate.

Defense

While the Yellow Jackets started the game with the lead, Nevada did great at limiting their shooting. Georgia Tech only shot 38.6 percent from the floor, 23.1 percent from the three, and 66.7 percent from the free throw line. Georgia Tech found most of its success coming from free-throw shooting and rebounding.

The return of K.J. Hymes was huge for Nevada’s defense, getting the big man back into the paint. Nevada got the important stops when needed, including the last three minutes of the games and attracting fouls.

Defense wins championships, and that was on full display as Nevada won its third tournament under coach Steve Alford, also winning the 2019 Paradise Jam and the 2021 Crossover Classic.

What’s Next

After a week and a half in Hawaii, Nevada will come back home to Lawlor Events Center on Dec. 30. The 12-1 Pack will take on the 1-9 Fresno Pacific Sunbirds. After that, Mountain West play begins with Fresno State on January 6.

Even if Nevada isn’t ranked this week, keeping this play up into conference games will definitely get them national attention.