Grading the Pack: Sherfield lifts Nevada over Colorado State

Nevada guard Daniel Foster (20) passes around the Rams Isaiah Stevens (4) in the first half of Friday's Nevada-Colorado State men's basketball game at Lawlor Events Center.

Nevada guard Daniel Foster (20) passes around the Rams Isaiah Stevens (4) in the first half of Friday's Nevada-Colorado State men's basketball game at Lawlor Events Center. Photo by Steve Ranson.

Grading the Nevada Wolf Pack’s 85-82 victory over the Colorado State Rams Friday night at Lawlor Events Center . . .

STARTERS

Grant Sherfield: B

The last two seconds were the stuff of dreams for Sherfield, who hit a dramatic game-winning 3-pointer to prevent the game from going into overtime. The first 39:58, though, included as many downs as ups for the Wolf Pack point guard. Sherfield finished with 18 points, six assists, two steals and turned the ball over just three times in his 33 minutes. But he made just 6-of-17 shots, misfiring on his first seven 3-pointers before draining his eighth to win the game. He also turned the ball over with 40 seconds to go with the game tied 82-82. Draining a game-winning three with two seconds to play in the final home game of the year after missing his first seven says all you need to know about Sherfield’s confidence and competitiveness.

Desmond Cambridge: B

Cambridge, too, wasn’t all that efficient against the Rams. But, like Sherfield, the 6-4 junior knows how to find a way to help his team win even when everything isn’t going as planned. Cambridge was just 4-of-14 from the floor (3-of-9 on threes) and foul trouble (four) limited his performance to just 27 minutes. But he found a way to pour in 20 points, sinking all nine of his free throws and pulling down six rebounds. His effort getting to the line was by far his best as a member of the Wolf Pack this season. Cambridge has struggled mightily from the floor the last two games, making just 8-of-29 shots. But he has gone 13-of-13 from the line the last two games. Before the last two games he was averaging just two free throw attempts a game this season.

Warren Washington: B

Washington played his customary 24 minutes (he’s played exactly 24 minutes in six of his last 10 games), turning in nine points, six rebounds, three assists, three turnovers and one steal. Getting on the floor for 24 minutes was, in itself, a major achievement for Washington in a game when the officials called 27 fouls on the Pack (three on Washington). Washington’s steal turned out to be the play of the game, giving the Pack the ball back in a tied game with 12 seconds to play. Washington now has five steals in his last three games combined after getting just four over his previous 21.  

Tre Coleman: B

The 6-7 freshman led the Pack with 34 minutes, mainly because (unlike most of his teammates) he avoided the officials (two fouls). Coleman doesn’t shoot much and when he does it almost always comes from outside the 3-point circle. He was 2-of-3 on threes (1-of-2 on twos) and finished with 11 points and six rebounds. Coleman is now 13-of-26 on threes over his last seven games and 5-of-6 on twos over the same stretch. A positive sign, though, from the Colorado State game was that Coleman was 3-of-4 from the line. Those four attempts were the same amount he had over his previous seven games combined.

K.J. Hymes: D

Hymes was inserted into the starting lineup for the first time since Dec. 2 after 19 games in a row coming off the bench. Unfortunately for the Pack the officials also took notice of Hymes’ new role. Hymes lasted all of 12 minutes against the Rams before fouling out. It was reminiscent of his five-fouls-in-nine-minutes performance against Air Force on Dec. 19. Two fouls in a span of 10 seconds roughly four minutes into the second half spelled doom for the 6-10 sophomore. Hymes did make his only shot (a 3-pointr) and had a rebound but missed half his four free throws.

BENCH

Daniel Foster: C

Foster returned to the bench (in favor of Hymes) and ended up playing a season-high 29 minutes. The 6-6 freshman, who has played nine games (six starts) this year, had five points and three rebounds with an assist and a steal but also was called for three fouls and turned the ball over three times. It was also the first time since his season debut on Jan. 22 at Wyoming that he didn’t attempt a single 3-pointer. 

Kane Milling: A

This is the Kane Milling the Wolf Pack needs to make a long postseason run. The 6-4 sophomore was 5-of-7 from the floor, draining 4-of-6 threes. He scored a career-high 17 points in 24 minutes with three rebounds and a steal. Milling has been great off the bench over his last two games, scoring 28 points, making 9-of-12 shots and 6-of-8 threes. Someone (Alford?) obviously told the talented shooter to become more aggressive on offense after he didn’t take a single shot in 17 minutes at Utah State last Friday.

Robby Robinson: C

The 6-8 Robinson saw 16 minutes of playing time, obviously benefiting from Hymes’ foul trouble. But the junior didn’t take a shot, didn’t score and was called for three fouls. He now has just four points over his last eight games and 63 minutes. Offense, though, has never been a part of Robinson’s game at Nevada. He’s scored just 25 points all year in 22 games (287 minutes). So concentrate on his much-appreciated four rebounds against the Rams. He grabbed just three over his previous five games and 30 minutes.

DeAndre Henry: Incomplete

Henry played just one minute against the Rams (late in the first half) and picked up two fouls in a span of 25 seconds. The 6-7 freshman from Phoenix now has six fouls over his last 15 minutes (six games) with one rebound.

COACHING: B

It wasn’t pretty and certainly not the way coach Steve Alford drew it up. But at this time of year the final result is all that matters. The Pack led for just four minutes the entire game and simply stole this victory on their home floor. Alford did a wonderful job guiding his team through this ugly game despite enormous foul trouble and his two best players (Sherfield, Cambridge) fighting through a 10-of-31 combined shooting night. Alford also found a way to get his team to fight from start to finish after a game (an 87-66 loss at Utah State on Feb. 28) in which the Pack never put up a fight.

OVERALL: B

Not much went right for the Pack against the Rams. But winning covers a multitude of sins. Sherfield and Cambridge struggled. The big men (Hymes, Washington, Robinson) had 11 fouls in 42 minutes. The Rams were 32-of-34 from the line while the Pack was just 28-of-37. It was 18-5 Colorado State seven minutes into the game.  The Pack never took a lead until a Sherfield layup put them up 55-54 with 13 minutes to go. That lead lasted all of 21 seconds. The second Pack lead (75-74) didn’t take place until there was just six minutes to go. And that lead lasted 12 seconds. Luckily for the Pack, though, Colorado State missed 10 of its 12 3-point shots in the second half. The Rams also scored just two points in the final four minutes, missing their last four shots (three threes). Credit, of course, the Pack defense but old reliable Lawlor Lady Luck was also undoubtedly at work. The Pack closed out its home schedule with a 10-2 record at home and is now 80-10 at Lawlor over the last six seasons.

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