LAS VEGAS – Marcus Marshall transferred to Nevada from Missouri State because he wanted an opportunity to play in the NCAA Tournament.
And, after another patented second-half comeback, he’s on the verge of realizing that dream.
Marshall scored 25 of his 28 points in the second half to spark Nevada to an 83-72 come-from-behind win over Fresno State in the Mountain West semifinals Friday night.
“We wanted it very bad,” Marshall said. “The game against Colorado State, we wanted it bad, too. We can’t let that get in the way or lose focus. Sometimes you can want something really bad and go out there and lose it a little bit.
“So going into tomorrow we’re going to approach it like any other game. We’re just going to try to play hard for 40 minutes and play as a team and play hard on defense and just live with the results.”
MUSS AND NCAA
Nevada coach Eric Musselman has continually stressed he doesn’t want to leave getting into the NCAA Tournament to the selection committee, thus his focus has been on winning the event.
However, he has his thoughts on the tournament and who should get in, and he’s not afraid to share them. He still thinks San Diego State should have made the tournament after its 16-2 regular-season championship and 28 wins overall last season.
“How they didn’t make the tournament, I have no idea,” he said. “I think it’s not fair. I’ve said it before, our local guys have heard me say it, when I was at Arizona State and LSU when we made the tournament, I thought we had pretty good years. Not like San Diego State had last year, at least in conference, and certainly not the way I feel about our team right now. But that’s the world we live in.
“And, if you’re a Power 5 school and you finish in fifth or eighth I guess they think that’s better than seasons like San Diego State had and a season like we’ve had. And that’s how it is. Again, I don’t think it’s fair because I’ve been on the other side and I think that once March Madness hits and the NCAA tournament’s first game on Thursday, everybody wants to see the underdog.”
HALL CONTINUES TO SHINE
Freshman Josh Hall had another nice game, scoring eight points on lay-ups and pulling down six rebounds.
“I thought Josh was phenomenal,” Musselman said. “He hung around the bucket because Fresno focused so much on Marcus (Marshall). And, his baskets were critical at critical times.
“And to see the way that he’s matured as a player has been unbelievable and the trust we’ve had in him, he’s done a great job of rebounding from a small forward spot. We put him on the opposing team’s best player when he goes in the game.”
Senior D.J. Fenner admitted he’s in a little slump right now.
Fenner went 2-for-7 before fouling out in the waning moments in the game.
In his last three outings, he’s 8 for 28 (28 percent overall) and 33 percent from the 3-point line.
“I prepare for every game like I’ve done my whole career,” Fenner said. “Sometimes I try to force a couple of shots, and I’ve got to catch myself.
“I’m just going to continue to play hard and do whatever it takes to help the team win.”
Musselman said playing the earlier of the two semifinals doesn’t give his team an advantage heading into today’s championship game. “I don’t think it matters,” Musselman said. “It’s two hours. Our guys are all going to watch it. They’re all going to go to bed about the same time.”