Nevada Wolf Pack Notebook: Bench comes up big for Nevada | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada Wolf Pack Notebook: Bench comes up big for Nevada

Darrell Moody
dmoody@nevadaappeal.com
Utah State's Sam Merrill shoots as Nevada's Leland King Jr. defends during the second half in the Mountain West Conference tournament Thursday in Las Vegas.
AP | FR159466 AP

LAS VEGAS — Leland King and Josh Hall took the spotlight in Nevada’s quarterfinal win at the Mountain West Basketball Championships.

Nevada’s top reserves accounted for 11 first-half points and 13 overall to spark the Pack to an 83-69 win over Utah State Thursday at Thomas & Mack Center.

Both got significant playing time when Jordan Caroline and D.J. Fenner were both hit with two personal fouls in the opening half.

King finished with eight points and three rebounds, and Hall tallied five points and grabbed two rebounds.

“I thought our bench gave us a huge lift when Jordan and D.J. got two fouls,” Nevada coach Eric Musselman said. “We stuck to our rule that we’ve had all year, two fouls and you sit in the first half. And Leland and Josh came in and gave us great energy and effort off the bench.”

King was instrumental in the half-ending 14-2 run, knocking down back-to-back 3-pointers. The second gave Nevada a 41-26 advantage.

“Yeah, I’m still confident in myself, always have been and always will be,” said King, who has been up and down this season. “I was open and I took the shots.

“Scoring and rebounding are the two things I do the best. Mostly, it’s playing good defense and helping the team out.”

Hall, who’s showing a true point guard mentality, said he’s happy doing blue-collar type work for the Pack.

“We wanted to make sure we came in with a lot of energy,” Hall said. “Tried to do everything I could defensively and rebounding. I’m looking to pass first and get all my teammates involved. I take the shot when it’s there. I let the game come to me.”

MILESTONE TIME FOR CAM, D.J.

Cam Oliver entered the game with 999 points, and he eclipsed the 1,000-point mark when he drained a 3-pointer to open the game. He’s the ninth player to do that in his first two years and the 27th player overall.

With his first basket of the game against the Aggies, senior D.J. Fenner took sole possession of 14th on the Nevada all-time scoring list, passing Luke Babbitt. Fenner now has 1,325 points in his four years at Nevada.

SOMETHING TO PROVE

The semifinal game today should be interesting.

Fresno State handed Nevada two of its six losses by a combined total of six points.

“Very difficult matchup,” Fresno State coach Rodney Terry said. “They’ve got five starters out there as good as anybody in the country. And, they put a lot of pressure on you defensively, because they can score at every position. You talk about Caroline, the big fellow inside, Marshall can score. They put a lot of pressure on you defensively. They caused a lot of fits in this league this year.”

No doubt Nevada has a score to settle.

“They are very athletic,” Marshall said. “We lost by one and then lost by five. They were both close games. We have to finish.”

DID YOU KNOW

The win by Musselman was his 50th at Nevada, and it was his second MW tournament win … Nevada’s win gave No. 1 seeds a 29-14 all-time MW record and 16-1 in the quarterfinals …Utah State senior Jalen Moore scored a career-best 27 on 9-for-17 shooting. His previous best was 24 against Air Force on Feb. 25… Sophomore Lindsey Drew tied Ramon Sessions’ single–season record of 153 assists.