Pack would like a do-over
For the Nevada Appeal
RENO – The Nevada Wolf Pack would like to start the season over.
“When you have a game like this, it’s very embarrassing,” Nevada coach David Carter said after the Wolf Pack’s season-opening 68-46 loss to the Missouri State Bears at Lawlor Events Center Friday night. “I’m very embarrassed by this. It won’t happen again.”
The Wolf Pack took a 13-11 lead on a 3-pointer by Kevin Panzer with less than 13 minutes to play in the first half. The Pack then proceeded to go scoreless during the next 6:56, missing six field goals and three free throws as Missouri State went on a game-changing 9-0 run.
The Bears, who played three exhibition games before opening their season against the Pack, led for the final 28 minutes of the game.
“We just didn’t bring it today,” Pack point guard Deonte Burton said. “We just couldn’t score the basketball.”
The 46 points is the Pack’s fewest since a 67-45 loss at Utah State last Feb. 2.
“We were just real timid as a group offensively,” guard Malik Story said.
The Wolf Pack shot just 26 percent (13-of-50) from the floor and just 52 percent (15-of-29) from the free throw line. Starters Olek Czyz, Dario Hunt and Burton were a combined 1-for-18 from the floor. Panzer, who played 23 minutes off the bench, led the Pack with 10 points.
“We got good looks,” Carter said. “We had decent shots. But my front line (Czyz, Jerry Evans and Hunt) were 3-for-20. We can’t have that.”
Hunt was 0-for-9 from the field and had six turnovers in 31 minutes.
“In the first half he was rushing it, trying to make things happen,” Carter said. “But he can’t go 0-for-9. That really hurt us.”
Hunt wasn’t the only one in silver and blue to struggle.
Czyz was 0-for-3 with two points and one rebound in 14 minutes. Burton was 1-for-6 for five points and two assists in 20 minutes. Story, whose 3-pointer 27 seconds into the game gave the Pack its biggest lead at 3-0, was 2-for-8 for six points and one rebound in 25 minutes.
“They made us a jump-shooting team,” said Carter of Missouri State’s defense. “They sagged a lot on defense and guarded the paint and took away our driving lanes.”
“We didn’t adjust like we should have,” Burton said.
The Pack scored just 33 points over the game’s final 33 minutes. They had six field goals in the first half and seven in the second half. They also missed 12-of-13 3-pointers in the second half in a desperate attempt to get back in the game.
“We panicked a little bit,” Carter said.
Missouri State, which made 43 percent of its shots, was led by Caleb Patterson’s 17 points. Kyle Weems, the Missouri Valley Conference preseason Player of the Year, scored just four points on 2-for-12 shooting. Guard Anthony Downing, though, picked up Weems by scoring all 12 of his points in the second half.
The Bears also went to the free throw line just seven times the entire game and were outscored 15-5 from the line by the Pack.
“I never dreamed we’d only have 13 field goals,” Carter said.
The Pack had two stretches of at least six minutes without a field goal in the first half . It took them over seven minutes to get their first field goal in the second half as Missouri State expanded its 31-24 halftime lead to 49-27. They also had another stretch of almost seven minutes without a field goal later in the second half.
“This is very frustrating,” Story said. “To come out so flat (to start the season) is surprising. It’s a little embarrassing.”
Hunt (31 minutes) was the only Pack player to play more than 25 minutes as Carter emptied his bench in search of some offense. Backup point guard Keith Fuetsch played a career high 20 minutes (he never played more than eight minutes in a game before Friday) and played well, scoring seven points and handing out a pair of assists. Panzer had three rebounds to go along with his 10 points and Patrick Nyeko had four points and five boards in 23 minutes.
Panzer, Fuetsch and Nyeko came off the bench to go 7-of-12 from the field for 21 points in 66 minutes. The rest of the team was a combined 6-of-38 for 25 points in 134 minutes.
“This is kind of a wake-up call,” said Carter. “What we have to do now is regroup because the games are going to come fast.”
The Pack, who will be back in action again on Monday night at UNLV, will play six games over the next two weeks.
“We shouldn’t play like this,” Story said. “But there are a lot of games left.”