RENO – Nevada coach Eric Musselman talked about how physical Colorado State was, and he preached the Pack had to match CSU’s toughness to win.
Nevada out-rebounded CSU, 44-36, and turned those rebounds into 20 second-chance points en route to the 85-72 win Saturday at Lawlor Events Center.
Cam Oliver had a season-best 17 rebounds and Jordan Caroline pulled down 15.
Those two nearly outrebounded the entire CSU team.
“All week long we said that if we could find a way to win the battle of the glass we thought we could win the game,” Musselman said.
“Normally we have 2 or 3 Sesame Street rules; a formula to win the game. Really we had just one, and that was try to win the rebounding battle.”
For the fourth time this season, both Oliver and Caroline enjoyed double-doubles.
It was Caroline’s 12th and Oliver’s 10th of the season. Oliver finished with 29 points and 17 rebounds, and Caroline had 18 points and 15 rebounds.
Emotions were running high for seniors Marcus Marshall and D.J. Fenner, and those emotions led to a sluggish start for the Pack.
Fenner, who went 2-for-9 and scored six points, didn’t score until 10:05 remained in the first half.
Marshall, who had a double-double with 18 points and a season-best 10 assists, scored with 9:43 left. The 10 assists were a team and conference high.
Marshall admitted nerves were there.
“I was kinda,” admitted the soft-spoken Marshall. “Right before the game I told D.J. I was.”
“We were clearly anxious; long shots (early),” Fenner said. “We pulled through.”
With a crowd of 11,662, the third largest crowd in Lawlor history, Nevada reached a season average of 8,922, a school record. The number beats out 2006-07 (8,903).
“It was a great atmosphere,” Marshall said.
THE MUSS FACTOR
Musselman is the second Nevada coach to lead his team to back-to-back 24-win seasons in his first two years, joining Mark Fox, who’s now at Georgia.
Musselman was briefly seen running around Lawlor shirtless, as he ripped off his shirt and tie and donned a Mountain West Conference championship T-shirt.