Nevada Wolf Pack hosts Pacific tonight | Nevada men’s basketball
PACIFIC (2-2) at NEVADA (5-2)
When: Today, 7 p.m.
Where: Lawlor Events Center (11,536)
TV/Radio: Mountain West Sports Network/94.3 FM
Probable Starters: PACIFIC - G: David Taylor (13.3, 4.5) and T.J. Wallace (15.3, 4.3); C: Sami Eleraky (3.0, 4.5); F: Tonko Vuko (3.5, 6.0) and Ray Bowles (10.3, 6.0). NEVADA - G: Marcus Marshall (20.4, 2.3) and Lindsey Drew (5.7, 4.7); F: Cameron Oliver (16.7, 6.1), Elijah Foster (12.0, 7.4) and Jordan Caroline (10.0, 9.0).
Notes: Pacific has won seven of the last 10 matchups in the series and 20 of the last 30 dating back to 1991…The last three contests between the Tigers and Wolf Pack and five of the last 10 have been decided by four points or less…T.J. Wallace has averaged 18.0 points in two career starts against the Wolf Pack. Ray Bowles’ second of three career double-doubles came last season against Nevada when he posted 19 points and 12 rebounds. Maleke Haynes scored a career-high 12 points in last season’s game against Nevada.
Nevada will be one player short when it hosts Pacific today (7 p.m.) at Lawlor Events Center.
Elijah Foster, who is averaging 12 points and 7.4 rebounds per game and shooting a team-leading 61.5 percent from the field, was arrested Monday morning on suspicion of first-degree domestic battery and contempt of court in an inmate listing by the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office.
“Elijah has been suspended from all basketball-related activities until the matter is fully resolved,” said head coach Eric Musselman before Monday’s practice. “The university, athletic department and basketball program takes this very seriously.”
Musselman was then asked if Foster, who has a 1-year-old son, had played his last game.
“We’re going to stick to our statement right now,” Musselman said.
It puts a lot of pressure on the rest of the Wolf Pack squad, which has just nine scholarship players after accepting three transfers last year.
Musselman said that he hasn’t decided on a starting lineup for today’s game. He has a few different options depending on whether he wants to go small or big. Senior D.J. Fenner is a popular choice, but he has been marvelous coming off the bench, and Musselman likes firepower from nonstarters.
“Somebody has to step up,” he said. “I don’t know what the starting lineup will be. Somebody’s role is going to change dramatically. I wish I could tell you so and so is going to step up.
“Josh Hall (freshman) is going to get opportunities as will Leland King II. Those two are going to get more minutes. Based on productivity we’ll see who gets the bulk of the minutes. Those two will definitely have to play more.”
Neither has gotten many minutes, as Musselman has opted to go with a short rotation. Hall, a slender 6-foot-6 forward, has played 21 minutes in six games. He is averaging 0.5 points and 0.7 rebounds per game. He played 21 minutes in the blowout win over Oregon State.
The 6-7 225-pound King, meanwhile, has played 29 minutes in five appearances. He is averaging 1.2 and 0.6, respectively after leaving Brown and redshirting last season.
Yet another possibility is Devearl Ramsey, a freshman point guard. His insertion as a starter would move Marcus Marshall to small forward. Ramsey has made some mental mistakes which has limited his minutes thus far.
With Foster on the sidelines for an unknown amount of time, the Pack needs 6-8 Cameron Oliver to step up. Oliver, because of foul trouble, is averaging just 28 minutes a game. He has been productive in that time, averaging 16.7 points and 6.1 rebounds per outing. He is shooting more than 50 percent from the floor and 45 percent from 3-point range.
“We need him to play 35 minutes,” Musselman said. “Everybody has to step up. We feel Cam is capable. He just has to stay out of foul trouble.”
Musselman usually benches players when they pick up two first-half fouls, and he has been pretty consistent with that.
Musselman said that he doesn’t see roles for Oliver and Jordan Caroline changing in Foster’s absence.
“I don’t think so,” Musselman said. “There might be some more rebounds (to grab).”
Pacific enters the game with a 2-2 record under first-year head coach Damon Stoudamire, and the Tigers will come in fresh. Pacific has won seven of the last 10 games in the series dating back to the 1991 season, and five of the last 10 have been decided by two baskets or less.
Guards T.J. Wallace and David Taylor average 15.3 and 13.3, respectively. Reserve forward Jack Williams is at 12.5 and Ray Bowles is at 10.3.
“They have really good guard play and some size up front,” Musselman said. “They have an outstanding point guard who is strong and has good size, and the off guard who can shoot the ball. (Ray) Bowles had a great game against us last year. They also have a couple of bigs who can shoot the ball.”
Stoudamire likes what he’s seen from his squad thus far.
“What I like is that we’re playing hard,” said the former NBA star, who played in Portland when the late Bill Musselman was an assistant coach under Mike Dunleavy. “We’ve been rebounding the ball and getting to the free throw line.
“On the flip side, we’ve got to shoot the ball better (36 percent). Except for UCLA, we’re playing good defense and rebounding. Everybody is buying in, but it always helps to have success.”