Bighorns drop double-overtime thriller
RENO — Mo Charlo reintroduced himself to Nevada basketball fans Saturday night when he made his home debut for the Reno Bighorns.
The forward, who appeared in two NCAA tournaments with the Wolf Pack, showed that he hasn’t lost his ability to clean up around the rim and get to the basket. But his 16-point effort wasn’t enough as the Los Angeles D-Fenders spoiled his homecoming with a 117-111 double-overtime victory.
“We didn’t execute,” Charlo said. “Coach had some great plays drawn up , just we came out of timeouts and didn’t execute. It’s just the little things. We had the game in our hands, we just didn’t execute.”
Desmon Farmer helped rally the Bighorns in the fourth quarter with a franchise-high 35. But it was Charlo who helped propel the Bighorns to their first-ever overtime game when he jumped the passing lane late in the fourth quarter and kicked the ball to Majic Dorsey for a game-tying shot to force OT.
But the Bighorns failed to close out the game in the first overtime and after Farmer fouled out in the final overtime, the game was well in hand for the D-Fenders.
“We’re not playing our flow of basketball,” Bighorns coach Jay Humphries said. “Our point guards aren’t getting us into our stuff the way that they need to. We talked about it and it’s a drastic change from last night to tonight.
“I think mentally our guys are learning a new system, but I think we need more discipline and be more determined. We’re a rebound away from winning a game, a stop away from winning the game, a free throw away from winning the game. We have to regroup, somebody has to step up and be a leader.”
The Bighorns trailed most of the game, but closed a 98-93 gap with 3 minutes, 30 second remaining in regulation. Charlo’s steal and Dorsey’s shot tied the game at 102-all.
After defeating the D-Fenders 101-79 Friday night in Los Angeles, the Bighorns had the chance to win the game in overtime but Dorsey failed to hit both free throws at the end of the period that would have given them a four-point lead.
With the game tied at 109 with 7.1 seconds left in the first overtime, Farmer had a chance to win the game but didn’t start the play until the clock was under 4 seconds and had to rush a shot.
The Bighorns struggled in the paint the entire game and weren’t aided with forward Rod Benson was in foul trouble much of the game. They were outrebounded 49-43 with the D-Fenders scoring 68 points in the paint and 21 second-chance points.
“Our bigs have to control the middle of the floor and that comes from guards penetrating to floor, bigs rebounding, posting them up,” Humphries said. “The bottom line is our bigs are here, they’re big, they’re supposed to control the middle of the floor. That’s nothing that I can teach, they have to find it in themselves to get that done.”