Nevada depends on short bench | Nevada Wolf Pack men’s basketball
RENO — The Nevada players and coach Eric Musselman have been asked about playing with essentially a seven-man team (for now) before and after nearly every game, and Thursday afternoon saw another round of questions.
Cam Oliver, Lindsey Drew, Marcus Marshall and Jordan Caroline are all averaging at least 31 minutes a game, and D.J. Fenner is close behind at 28 minutes per contest. Oliver played the full 40 minutes in the 72-69 win over San Diego State Wednesday night.
Whether the Pack can hold up or not remains to be seen. The players and Musselman went through it all last year, and they don’t seem worried.
“The big thing is the conditioning in the off-season,” Musselman said after the SDSU win. “Every time there is a time-out, I ask the players if they need a 30-second blow.”
Most, if not always, there are no takers.
“They asked me about five times,” Oliver said. “I didn’t need it. I didn’t feel tired. I was so keyed in, I didn’t want to come out. I think it’s a pride thing.”
“I feel like even though we have a short rotation, everybody stays fresh,” said Caroline, a sophomore transfer.
The summer regimen consists of a lot of running, according to Oliver, and the team took two trips to Lake Tahoe during the summer for conditioning. Every player on the team has to run a timed mile. The big men have to run it in 5-minutes and 45-seconds and the guards have to run it in 5:35.
“The mile is not something you look forward to,” Oliver said. “You don’t look forward to running it in 90-degree heat or 12 degrees. Rodney (Fowler) our trainer (strength and conditioning) really helped. He made sure we did a lot of running during the summer.”
Oliver laughed when asked if he made it the first time.
“I got a little extra time,” he said. “I was banged up in a little auto accident. The timing was perfect.”
BACK ON TRACK?
Oliver had 17 points and 11 rebounds Wednesday against the Aztecs, and Musselman said the 6-8 sophomore had his best week of practice.
Oliver admitted he was a little distracted earlier this month with the birth of his son, King, and a couple of family issues.
“I wasn’t in the right state of mind,” Oliver said. “As of right now, everything is good.”
Oliver, along with Caroline, both racked up a double-double. It was the second time this season two players had a double-double in the same game.
FENNER MOVES UP
Senior D.J. Fenner moved up to 22nd on the Nevada all-time scoring list with his 17-point effort.
RAMSEY’S BIG NIGHT
Freshman Devearl Ramsey pulled down a career-high five rebounds in his 18-minute stint.
With the loss, the Aztecs have dropped consecutive Mountain West games for the first time in 62 contests.
And, with a road game at Boise State Saturday, the Aztecs are in danger of an 0-3 MW start.
And, to make matters worse, the Aztecs were unable to take their charter flight back to school because of the weather.
AROUND THE MW
New Mexico was a 79-75 upset victim at the hands of Utah State on Wednesday.
In other games, Boise State hammered UNLV 77-59; Fresno State handled Wyoming 85-70 and Colorado State edged San Jose State 76-69.
Boise State is alone at the top with a 3-0 record, while New Mexico, Nevada, Fresno State and Colorado State are all 2-1.