Phillips provides big assist for Wolf Pack in defensive scheme

BY DARRELL MOODY

Appeal Sports Writer

RUSTON, La. - Nevada coach Mark Fox was worried about Tech guard Kyle Gibson, and with good reason.

Gibson was averaging 15.4 for all games, and he eclipsed that with an 18-point effort. However, it took a 10-for-12 effort at the line to achieve that, as he went 3-for-11 from the floor.

Fox used several different players on Gibson, including 6-7 Richie Phillips, who enjoyed some good minutes on defense.

Phillips, in fact, played a career-best 14 minutes in the 83-70 Nevada win Saturday night at Thomas Assembly Center.

"Gibson is a 2 guard playing a 4 (power forward)," Fox said. "Richie is quick enough (and long enough) to guard nearly every position on the floor."

This was only Phillips' second game of the season. Nevada will have a five-game stretch over 10 days in February, thus Phillips needs to be ready to play extended minutes.

Tech coach Kerry Rupp said that Nevada's defensive strategy did cause problems for Gibson, forcing him to shoot the ball higher than he wanted to at times.

Rupp also said Gibson, perhaps buoyed by his 3-point barrage last week against New Mexico State, should have tried to penetrate more often during the game, especially when he had a bigger player on him.

KRAEMER SHINES

Ray Kraemer played just nine minutes, but they were nine very productive minutes, as he scored a career-high seven points, pulled down a career-best three rebounds and had an assist and steal.

"It feels good," said Kraemer, who had his family on hand. "I played hard. I was really comfortable."

According to Fox, Nevada's second unit, soundly outplayed the first group during a 10-minute stretch during practice earlier this week.

FAZEKAS, SESSIONS UPDATE

Ramon Sessions has had a tremendous first year with the Tulsa 66ers in the NBA D-League.

The former Nevada point guard is averaging 20.5 points, 7.1 assists and 6.4 rebounds, and has a great opportunity to make it to the all-star game. He had a great game on Thursday, scoring 35 points.

Nick Fazekas, who also plays for Tulsa, is averaging 18 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists.

Sessions credits a lot of his success to playing in the Las Vegas Summer league and being in the Bucks' training camp. Sessions and Fazekas live next door to each other in Tulsa.

"Having a guy I played with in college as one of my teammates is a big plus, especially with him being a big man and me being a point guard," Sessions told a reporter for Bucks.com Web site.

AROUND THE WAC

New Mexico State knocked Utah State from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 100-70 victory in an ESPN2 game.

Elsewhere, Fresno State stopped San Jose State 75-58 and Hawaii picked up a road win against Idaho, 58-53.

FACTS & FIGURES

The win was Nevada's 10th straight over Tech, including seven straight in the Thomas Assembly Center ... Tech grad Karl Malone donated approximately $350,000 for the new floor at TAC ... Nevada shot 61 percent for the game, which was the best effort since the Idaho game last season when Nevada shot 62 percent ... Nevada is 12-1 when leading at the half, 7-0 when shooting 50 percent or better and 9-1 when outrebounding its opponent ... Nevada had a 40-18 advantage scoring in the paint, which wasn't really surprising given its distinct height advantage ... Nevada is now 6-0 when facing first-year coaches ... Marcelus Kemp's three field goals moved him to fifth on Nevada's career list with 577. He passed Ric Herrin. Kemp needs four points to pass Pete Padgett and move into fifth on the all-time scoring list ... Armon Johnson has reached double figures in six straight games and Kemp stretched his streak to 19 in a row for double-figure scoring games.

• Contact Darrell Moody at dmoody@nevadaappeal.com, or by calling (775) 881-1281

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