Nevada players, coaches and fans will be burning the midnight oil tonight when the Wolf Pack squares off against Oakland University in a second-round battle in the 39th annual Great Alaska Shootout at Alaska Airlines Arena.
Tip-off is set for 10:30 p.m. (CBS Sports Network and 94.3 FM) at Alaska Airlines Arena in Anchorage.
A win streak will end tonight. Oakland has jumped out of the gate with four straight wins, while the Pack is riding a three-game win streak after a season-opening loss to then 17th-ranked Saint Mary’s College.
“Oakland is a very good team,” Nevada coach Eric Musselman said after Sunday’s win over Iona. “They are 4-0 and all four have been at home. It will be a test for us. They have a lot of guys between 6-3 and 6-8; similar to us.”
Oakland averages a Horizon League-best 91 points a game, and the Golden Grizzlies have scored more than 100 points in each of their last two wins over Chicago State (107-79) and Goshen-NAIA (102-59).
Oakland is led by 6-6 Martez Walker (22.0), 6-4 Sherron Dorsey-Walker (12.8) and 6-7 Jalen Hayes (12.8).
“The schools we’ve played haven’t been that difficult,” said veteran Oakland coach Greg Kampe, who’s starting his 33rd season of coaching. “Martez has played OK. He has scored, but he isn’t shooting that well.
“We try to get it up the floor as quickly as we can and get to the rim. Some games we shoot a lot of 3s and sometimes we shoot very few 3s.”
Oakland lost point guard Kay Felder and his 24-point scoring average to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Kampe has used three different players — Stevie Clark, Brailen Neely and Dorsey-Walker — to run the offense.
Clark has fared well, dishing out 34 assists thus far, including 11 against Chicago State.
“I didn’t expect to lose Felder,” Kampe said.
Nevada would be Oakland’s best opponent to date.
“They are very athletic,” Kampe said. “They look like a very good team on film.
“They have a guy (Cameron Oliver) who could be a first-round pick, and I like No. 1 (Marcus Marshall). He’s a really good point guard; a really good shooter.”
Marshall is shooting 37.5 from the floor, including 33 percent from beyond the 3-point arc.
Elijah Foster, who has been a force inside, is shooting 70 percent from the field (19-for-27) and Oliver is at 66 percent (27-for-41). All told, Nevada is shooting 50 percent as a team.
Rebounding has been a big key in Nevada’s three-game winning streak, especially at the offensive end.
The Pack has averaged nine offensive rebounds per game and turned those 36 caroms into 41 points, an average of 1.13 points per offensive rebound.
Jordan Caroline has 12 offensive rebounds and Foster has nine. Both have done yeoman-like work on the offensive glass and have the bumps and bruises to show for it.
“I rebound and play with a high energy level,” said Caroline, who’s coming off back-to-back double-doubles.
Ditto for Foster, who played well offensively against Loyola Marymount (18 points) and Iona (21 points). The latter was a career high.
“They don’t call any plays for me, I take what they give me,” Foster said. “I just play my role; do the dirty work.”