Oliver scores 25 to lead Nevada to win at Air Force
When Cameron Oliver is on his game, Nevada is a dangerous basketball team.
On Wednesday night, Oliver was at his best.
The 6-8 sophomore forward came off the bench and scored 25 points and pulled down 15 rebounds to lead the Pack to a 78-59 win against Air Force in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The win pushed Nevada’s record to 20-6 overall and 9-4 in conference, a half game behind conference leading Colorado State.
And, coach Eric Musselman became a 20-game winner for the second consecutive season. Mark Fox had 20-win seasons in each of his five years as Nevada head coach.
According to a Nevada spokesperson, Oliver didn’t start the game because Musselman wanted to change things up a bit. Lindsey Drew didn’t start either.
Not to be overlooked was Nevada’s defense. The Pack used its size advantage and forced the Falcons to alter their offense. Air Force hoisted up 30 3-pointers, which is not its style.
“Their size bothered us, you could see that,” Air Force coach Dave Pilipovich said. “We had some open shots, but we took 30 threes and that’s not what we want. We settled for the three because it was easy instead of getting backdoors and drives. That comes with some inexperience.
“Nevada is a good team especially when they get those numbers from Cameron Oliver.”
Oliver was 9-for-12 shooting and went 5 for 5 at the line as the Wolf Pack rebounded from a Sunday loss to San Diego State. He now has seven double-doubles on the season.
After not scoring in the opening half against SDSU, Oliver netted 16 in the first 20 minutes at Air Force to spark the Pack to a 41-28 lead. The Pack shot a season-best 62.5 percent in the opening half. Oliver scored the Pack’s last seven points in the final 3-plus minutes and walk-on Charlie Tooley hit two 3-pointers.
Air Force never got closer than nine points the rest of the way.
D.J. Fenner scored 15 points for Nevada with three 3-pointers. Jordan Caroline and Marcus Marshall added 10 points each.
Fenner moved past Nap Montgomery (1964-66) for 17th in Nevada history in career scoring. He now has 1,254 career points.