Grading the Pack against Louisiana Tech | NevadaAppeal.com
Joe Santoro
For the Nevada Appeal

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Grading the Pack against Louisiana Tech

Grading the Nevada Wolf Pack men’s basketball team after a 66-58 victory over the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs on Saturday night . . .

STARTERS

OLEK CZYZ: C-

Czyz had a frustrating night, missing a dunk, two lay-ups, a free throw and turning the ball over once in a seven-minute stretch in the second half. The junior was just 2-of-7 from the floor, missed three of his four free throws, scored just six points with just three rebounds and also turned the ball over three times in 22 minutes. Czyz, though, did hit a huge 3-pointer to give the Pack a 40-39 lead with 16 minutes left so the evening wasn’t a total loss for the Polish Rifle.

DARIO HUNT: B

Hunt had a nice offensive night, scoring 16 points and draining all eight of his free throws. But he let Louisiana Tech’s Olu Ashaolu take over the game in the first half and he also pulled down just five rebounds in 32 minutes. Hunt scored six points in the first five minutes of the game on a dunk and two lay-ups (off three assists by Deonte Burton) and made six free throws in the final three minutes. In the 32 minutes in between, though, he struggled to get in a flow on either end of the floor.

JERRY EVANS: C-

Evans had six rebounds and a steal in 26 minutes but he did almost nothing offensively. The red-shirt freshman is a very talented offensive player and he needs to assert himself more on the offensive end, especially on a night when other starters like Malik Story and Olek Czyz are having an off night. Evans was 0-for-3 from the floor and he finished without a point and an assist. It was the third time this year that a Pack player played at least 20 minutes and didn’t have either a point or an assist, Kevin Panzer did it the other two times.

DEONTE BURTON: A

Burton is playing as well as any point guard — maybe any player at any position — in the Western Athletic Conference right now. The freshman had 18 points, six assists and three steals in just 26 minutes. He was 7-of-9 from the floor and turned the ball over just twice. The 6-foot-1 Burton is averaging 20.8 points, 4.0 assists, 2.8 steals and 2.5 turnovers over the Pack’s last four games.

MALIK STORY: C-

Story, like most of the Pack starters on this night, just seemed to never get in a rhythm against the Bulldogs. The sophomore scored 10 points and had just two rebounds and no assists in 26 minutes. He did have three steals but he also turned the ball over twice. He also attempted just one 3-point s

hot (he made it) after averaging 8.1 attempts over his previous seven games.

BENCH: B-

Patrick Nyeko has emerged as a solid contributor off the bench after almost disappearing his freshman year and the first two months of this season. The sophomore had four points (all free throws) and three rebounds in 13 minutes . . . Devonte Elliott had a disappointing night, pulling down three rebounds and failing to score (or even take a shot) in 16 unproductive minutes. The Pack is going to need more than that from Elliott the rest of the way now that Illiwa Baldwin has played his last game for the Pack (academic troubles) . . . Jordan Burris, one of this team’s hidden talents, was solid in nine minutes, scoring five points and grabbing four boards. He made two big shots in the second half . . . Derrell Conner had four points, no assists and two turnovers in 14 minutes and Kevin Panzer had a couple rebounds and a turnover in seven minutes. . . Marko Cukic had a remarkably productive night, with a rebound and an assist in one minute.

COACHING: C

The Pack came out without any life or sense of urgency and let a winless (0-7 in the WAC) Louisiana Tech team control the first half. They also fell asleep again in the second half and let the Bulldogs back into the game (they led just 57-54) with 4:37 to play. Carter played musical chairs in the first half, shuffling players on and off the floor. The result was that nobody played well in the first half and Czyz, Story and Evans never found their rhythm the entire night. In short, the Pack was very fortunate they were playing a winless Louisiana Tech team on Saturday. This should have been a team the Pack dominated. They were at home, they were riding their first two-game winning streak of the year, the Bulldogs have no size (or depth) to speak of and they might be the only WAC team to fail to qualify for the postseason conference tournament. The Pack also went away from what they do best, taking a season-low 10 3-point attempts. This is a team that feeds off the energy that a successful 3-pointer gives them and if there was ever a night the Pack needed a surge of energy this was it. The Pack simply didn’t run its offense this game. The point guards (Burton and Conner) took 36% of the shots. The Pack also had just nine assists (just five over the final 34-plus minutes). And it wasn’t like they weren’t making shots. They shot 48% (20-of-42). That lack of execution was one game after setting a season high with 21 assists just 48 hours earlier against New Mexico State. Carter said he told his team immediately after the victory over New Mexico State that they didn’t accomplish anything and there was no reason to celebrate. It was the right thing to say. They obviously didn’t listen to him.