Wolf Pack Grades

Does Nevada have a formula for a Mountain West title?

Nevada’s Grant Sherfield was named Mountain West Player of the Week after the Pack swept Boise State. (Photo: University of Nevada)

Nevada’s Grant Sherfield was named Mountain West Player of the Week after the Pack swept Boise State. (Photo: University of Nevada)

Grading the Nevada Wolf Pack’s 74-72 and 73-62 victories over the Boise State Broncos last weekend at Lawlor Events Center:
STARTERS
Grant Sherfield: A+
The best player in the Mountain West carried his team to two important victories last weekend. Sherfield was nearly flawless, making 18-of-34 shots overall and 5-of-10 threes in the two games. He was 8-of-8 from the line (all on Sunday) and had an eye-opening 22 assists and just five turnovers. The 6-foot-2 guard had 49 points in the two games with 29 coming on Sunday. Sherfield scored 10 consecutive Pack points on Sunday in a span of six minutes that increased the Pack lead from two to nine with 3:33 to play. He played 75 of the 80 minutes and is simply dominating the conference.
Desmond Cambridge: A
Cambridge ventured inside the 3-point circle more often last weekend and his offense finally blossomed. He was 11-of-17 on shots inside the arc in the two games, the most non-threes he’s made in any of the seven two-game conference series this year. Cambridge scored 38 points in the series, including his first 20-point game (21 on Friday) since he had 24 against New Mexico on Dec. 31. Cambridge also had seven rebounds, four assists and two steals in the two games. His eight points in the final six minutes on Friday keyed the two-point victory.
Warren Washington: B -
Washington’s foul trouble returned this past weekend. He was whistled four times in each of the two games after getting called for six fouls over his previous four games. But the 7-foot sophomore did a nice job on Sunday to salvage his weekend. Washington had just four points and four boards in 18 minutes on Friday but returned on Sunday to score 10 points and haul in 10 boards in 24 minutes for his second double-double of the year. He just might be the best big man in the conference next to Utah State’s Neemias Queta.
Tre Coleman: C -
Coleman, too, struggled to avoid the officials against Boise, getting called for four fouls in each game. The 6-7 freshman scored 10 points in the two games with two assists and four turnovers. His foul trouble (an average of three fouls a game over his last 12 games) is a bit puzzling since he rarely ventures inside the 3-point circle on offense. He has now attempted 53 3-pointers this season and just 32 shots inside the arc. He was 2-of-7 on threes against Boise and is now 10-of-44 over his last 16 games after starting the season 6-of-9 through his first five games. Coleman now also has not gotten to the free throw line in four consecutive games.
Daniel Foster: C -
Foster remained in the starting lineup against Boise State and produced seven points over 46 minutes. The 6-6 guard fouled out of Sunday’s game in just 21 minutes and now has 22 fouls and 22 points over his first 121 minutes this season. Since joining the active roster six games ago, Foster has since taken over Zane Meeks’ spot in the starting lineup. He has produced 14 points (and 12 fouls) in his four starts.
BENCH
K.J. Hymes: B
Hymes came off the bench for a struggling Washington on Friday and produced a season-high 17 points and three rebounds in 22 minutes in the 74-72 win. He was 7-of-8 from the floor and 3-of-4 from the line. Hymes’ foul trouble, though, returned this past weekend. He picked up four fouls in just 12 minutes on Sunday and three on Friday. He was, however, efficient on offense once again on Sunday, making 2-of-3 shots and scoring four points. Hymes has become one of the most consistent threats off the bench in the conference over his last nine games, scoring 78 points on 27-of-47 shooting.
Zane Meeks: C-
Meeks struggled coming off the bench in the two games, scoring just four points in 41 minutes and making just 2-of-9 shots. He missed all five of his 3-pointers and both of his free throws. The 6-9 sophomore was coming off two games when he scored 30 points in 39 minutes off the bench against UNLV. His one saving grace against Boise State was his nine rebounds in the two games.
Kane Milling: C-
Milling saw 46 minutes of playing time in the two games and produced four points on 1-of-5 shooting. He also had four rebounds, three turnovers, two assists. Milling also rarely ventures inside the 3-point arc for a shot lately, taking 33 threes (making 10) over his last 14 games and just 19 twos (making seven). The 6-4 guard, though, was 1-of-2 from the line on Sunday for his first visit to the free throw line in six games.
DeAndre Henry, Alem Huseinovic, Robby Robinson: Incomplete
Henry and Huseinovic received a token minute each on Sunday and Robinson lasted five minutes in the same game, picking up a foul and an assist. The Pack bench, it seems, has been reduced to just three (Hymes, Meeks, Milling).
COACHING: A +
We learned last year that Alford isn’t the type of coach that gets upset if one player basically hogs the basketball and takes all of the shots. Alford, after all, was that type of player for Bobby Knight. That player on the Pack last year was Jalen Harris and this year it’s Grant Sherfield. Alford, long ago, figured out the beauty of basketball. You can indeed let one guy take almost all of the at-bats. If David Carter had that same philosophy when he had Deonte Burton he might still be the Pack head coach. The secret of this Pack team’s success, though, is that Sherfield isn’t selfish. Yes, Sherfield is always on the floor and always has the ball. But he makes sure Cambridge gets his dozen or so shots a game and Washington and Hymes each get a chance to dunk. This formula (Sherfield starting or finishing everything or both) just might pay off in a Mountain West title this year.
OVERALL: A+
Sherfield and Cambridge combined to score 22 of the Pack’s last 24 points on Sunday. The two combined for 87 of the Pack’s 147 points in the two games. Boise State knew what was coming and still couldn’t stop it. But the Pack earned the sweep with defense. Going into the weekend Boise State appeared to be one of the deepest teams in the league. The Broncos’ best player, Derrick Alston, got 40 points in the two games and Emmanuel Akot had 32. But everybody else in Boise orange and blue struggled like Kyle Brotzman on a cold November night at Mackay Stadium in 2010. But unlike that cold November night in 2010, you can credit the Pack defense this time for the Boise struggles. Boise’s Marcus Shaver, RayJ Dennis, Devonaire Doutrive and Max Rice combined to score a grand total of 25 total points in the two games combined. Those four were averaging roughly 40 points a game combined coming into the series. Defense (something Alford didn’t do for Knight) is why the Pack swept this series.

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