Jordan rules as tournament MVP
LAS VEGAS — If you look back at Jordan Caroline’s first 13 games in a Nevada uniform, you would be hard pressed to find a bad game.
The 6-foot-7 sophomore transfer from Southern Illinois has been a beast on the boards, and is just a few points shy of scoring in double figures in 13 straight games.
He put together two outstanding games at the South Point Holiday Hoops Classic, scoring 34 points and pulling down 21 rebounds, including 20 points and 12 rebounds in Thursday’s 67-66 thriller over UC Santa Barbara.
Caroline’s efforts earned him Most Outstanding Player of the four-team tournament.
“I haven’t gotten an MVP since middle school,” Caroline said. “I did get a trophy.”
Caroline said he would probably give the trophy to his mother.
Musselman has been impressed with Caroline since the season started.
“He is so relentless to the glass,” the Nevada coach said. “I think he keeps getting better. He did a great job in the middle against the zone, and he did a good job of getting to the rim.
“I haven’t seen a guy play as hard as he does in practices and games.”
BRUTAL AT THE LINE
The Pack shot a season-worst 45.2 percent from the line, and no that isn’t a misprint, and it’s the main reason why the game went down to the wire.
D.J. Fenner was his normal solid self, making three of his four attempts. The rest of the team absolutely struggled. Cam Oliver went 2-for-6, Caroline was 4-for-9, Marshall was 2-for-4, Lindsey Drew was 3-for-6 and Josh Hall went 0-for-2.
“When you have guys that are active and physical, and seek contact historically they haven’t been good free-throw shooters,” Musselman said. “We stopped the clock 31 times and that lets our defense set up.
“It was the second night of a back-to-back. They had an extra two hours (of rest between games), and that helps in tournament play.”
Musselman pointed out the key is getting to the line, and Nevada has averaged 27 free throws a contest. “As a team we’ve got to pick it up,” Marshall said.
STARTING WITH A TECH
The Gauchos were hit with a technical foul for not having their starters in the book 10 minutes prior to the game.
Marshall, normally an 82 percent foul shooter, missed the free throw.
“I don’t think I ever shot a free not having anybody out there,” he said after the game.
Many of the players flew back home right after the game.
Unfortunately they won’t get a big break because practice resumes on Christmas night.
“They need the time off mentally and physically,” Musselman said. “We’ll come back Christmas night, get back to work and talk about San Jose State.”
The Spartans invade Lawlor Events Center Wednesday for the conference opener. The Spartans were 7-4 at the start of the week.
Marshall said he was going back to Reno because the break wasn’t long enough to go back to Minnesota.
The Tigers, who lost by nine to Nevada on Wednesday, rebounded to beat Iona, 76-67, in the opener on Thursday.
Mike Morsell led the way with 19, while Brian Starr and William Adala Moto added 14 apiece.