Marshall law needs to rule again for Nevada
RENO — To say Nevada’s Marcus Marshall is off his game is a vast understatement.
Marshall, who carried the Pack offensively with some great 3-point shooting earlier this year, is colder than the weather.
The 6-2 senior guard is shooting 26 percent from the floor, including a 4-for-24 mark from beyond the arc, the past four games.
Marshall’s slump started with a 1-for-12 effort in a 74-57 loss to Utah State back on Feb. 1.
Nevada hopes Marshall gets back on the right track today when it hosts Utah State today at 5 at Lawlor Events Center.
Sam Merrill had the defensive assignment on Marshall last time, and no doubt he will be on the Nevada star again today.
“Utah State face guarded him and turned it into a 4-on-4 game,” Nevada coach Eric Musselman told reporters Friday morning. “If they want to do that again, we’ll have to see if Marcus can draw some fouls.
“It’s our job and Marshall’s job to get free throws by going to the basket.”
Marshall’s scoring average has dropped by a basket in the last four games. He had been over 20 a game for much of the season.
“We have to do a better job of attacking,” Musselman said. “Utah State is the only team that has done that (against Marshall).
“Air Force played a zone and San Diego State played some zone and some man. He’ll bounce back.”
Musselman said more gaps may be open if USU employs the same strategy, which makes it incumbent D.J. Fenner, Jordan Caroline and Cameron Oliver pick up the scoring slack. Oliver is coming off a 25-point, 15-rebound effort against Air Force on Wednesday, and Fenner is averaging 24.3 a game since the blowout win over UNLV.
This is a revenge game for the Pack, which dropped a 74-57 decision to Utah State on Feb. 1. Musselman said it was Nevada’s worst game of the season.
“First of all, when you lose a game and lose so decisively, you have to give your opponent credit,” Musselman told reporters at his weekly press conference. “Our job is to go back and look at film and see what went wrong. Before the first game, I said they were long and athletic. They had freshmen (Koby McEwen and Sam Merrill) playing hard. They are a really good basketball team.
“Their record doesn’t come close to their level of talent. Our team really respects Jalen Moore (16.3 per game) and their freshmen guards are playing so well. Obviously we need to do a great job defensively against Moore. We’ll see how it works in Game 2.”
McEwen scored a game-high 26, including 19 in the second half, in the first meeting between the teams.
“Keeping in front of him (better),” Musselman said. “We have to do a better job of help defense.”
Utah State enters the game having lost three of its last four.
“Offensively we are sputtering right now, that is what is not working well,” Utah State coach Tim Duryea said. “We are having good stretches defensively and when we don’t turn the ball our over half-court defense is pretty solid.
“Where our defense is struggling is when we have turned the ball over and give up easy baskets.”We did a good job on Marcus Marshall. Sam locked on to him and you are not going to stop him from getting looks, but Sam did a good job of making those looks tough. We were fortunate to get him to miss a few times and that was the key to the game. Teams are just guarding him extremely tough. He isn’t getting the quality of looks that he got the first few conference games because nobody was familiar with him.”