RENO - Nevada men's basketball coach Trent Johnson and his players are taking the school's nickname pretty seriously, it seems.
They're trying their best to resemble a pack of wolves on the basketball court, or at least a colony of ants that keep coming. That's what it must have looked like to Montana State Monday night at the Lawlor Events Center when Nevada improved to 2-0 with a 79-62 win.
The Wolf Pack had 12 players score, with only two in double figures - Terrance Green with 17 and Matt Ochs with 11. Nevada also outrebounded the Bobcats 40-21, including 24-8 in the second half.
Add to that 18 assists and 12 steals and Ochs simply, but aptly summed up the Wolf Pack's effort. "It was a pretty good team effort all the way around," said Ochs, a 6-foot-8 center from Reed High School.
Nevada also throttled Montana State's much-heralded three-point attack, leading Richard Stirgus to state Johnson's mantra after the game when he said, "We knew if we would defend and rebound, we would have a chance to win."
A play that typified Nevada's team effort came in the first half when James Bayless scored off of a behind-the-back pass from Andre Hazel to give the Wolf Pack an 18-12 lead.
"I do everything for a purpose," Hazel said. "I don't do an around the back pass unless if it's necessary."
Hazel said he would even do a back flip if he had to, which prompted many in the media after the game to say they would like to see that.
Nevada was clinging to a 30-29 lead in the first half when it went on a 10-2 run to take a 40-31 halftime lead. The Wolf Pack continued to build the lead to begin the second half and led by as many as 23 points late in the game.
Green scored 31 points in Nevada's season-opening win at San Francisco on Saturday night. When asked if the Bobcats were keying on him, Green said, "I really didn't feel that tonight or anything like that.
"It felt good at times, but at times I forced, too," Green said about his shot. "I've still got a long ways to go.
"Hopefully some day, I'll get it together. Points don't really mean that much to me as long as we get a W."
Johnson noted his team still has a long way to go, pointing out its 23 turnovers against the Bobcats.
"We were really casual with the basketball," Johnson said. "We're still a really, really young team."
But Johnson also said his team has beaten two quality opponents in San Francisco and Montana State.
"I'm very pleased," he said. "We've beaten two pretty good teams."
Game Notes: After being in Johnson's doghouse and coming off being suspended, the Nevada coach downplayed the fact that guard Andre McCullough didn't play in the first 25 minutes in the game. Johnson said the only reason why he didn't enter sooner was because Hazel and Donny Guerinoni were playing well in the backcourt.