RENO — Senior Hallice Cooke is in the final few weeks of his college basketball career, and he’s determined to make the time count.
Cooke, a transfer from Iowa State, scored a career high 15 points in Nevada’s 80-67 win over last-place San Jose State on Wednesday night at Lawlor Events Center.
With Lindsey Drew sidelined for the rest of the season after suffering an Achilles injury against Boise State, Cooke has stepped into the starting lineup and Nevada hasn’t missed a beat.
Cooke scored six points, dished out five assists and grabbed three rebounds in the start Saturday at Utah State, and against the Spartans he added seven assists and a steal to his 15-point effort (5-for-10 from 3).
And, his mom got to see him play in Reno for the first time.
“Step 1, just go out and take care of business,” said Cooke. “Happy she’s here. My teammates found me and I knocked down shots.”
Cooke said having the chance to play extended minutes hasn’t made a difference to him.
“I just play the game and don’t try to think about it,” he said.
Coach Eric Musselman has been pleased with what he’s brought to Nevada all season, but especially in the last couple of weeks.
“His energy at team meals on the team bus and in the locker room, he’s taken over the leadership role and been the vocal guy.
“It’s neat to see how he embraces the role. He’s always had decent energy. The positivity he brings is uplifting. He’s in a comfortable groove right now.”
DREW SURGERY POSTPONED
Because of swelling, Lindsey Drew’s surgery, scheduled for Wednesday, was postponed until Friday, according to Musselman.
Musselman didn’t think that Drew would be able to make Sunday’s game, but he’s hopeful that he will rejoin the team soon.
“Hopefully he’ll be back for the tournament,” Musselman said. “It would be great for him to be around the team. He has great camaraderie, and we hope to have him back in town as soon as he is healthy and able.”
Jordan Caroline said he’s had some contact with Drew.
“He’s upset, but he’s good,” Caroline said. “He wants us to do well. He’s Lindsey.”
Musselman said earlier in the week that he hoped the San Jose State and Colorado State (Sunday) games would be sellouts.
Wednesday’s game drew an announced crowd of 8,096, though there were plenty of no shows. Maybe because it was a weekday game or maybe because it was San Jose State, the electricity in the building was lacking.
“I hope we have a great crowd Sunday,” he said. “We’re a ranked team, 13-2 (in conference) and 24-5 (overall). I think the guys were hopeful of a better crowd than what we saw tonight. We’re 20th in the country.”
The Pack’s regular-season finale is Sunday at 1 p.m. against Colorado State.
A year ago, CSU and Nevada played the regular-season finale with the regular-season title at stake. Nevada won 85-72 thanks to 29 points and 17 rebounds by Cameron Oliver.
The Rams are on their third coach of the season. Both head coach Larry Eustachy and associate head coach Steve Barnes have been placed on administrative lead.
BY THE NUMBERS
Musselman has led the Pack to at least 24 wins in each of his three seasons. Musselman is 76-26 at Nevada … The Pack has won the last seven meetings with SJSU and 19 of the last 20 ... The Pack improved to 13-1 at home and 42-5 at home under Musselman.