Demarshay solid off the bench | NevadaAppeal.com

Demarshay solid off the bench

DARRELL MOODY
Appeal Sports Writer

RENO – Nevada sophomore Matt LaGrone made his first-ever start Saturday night, replacing senior Demarshay Johnson.

LaGrone, who always plays hard and never takes a play off, scored four points and grabbed two offensive rebounds in 16 minutes of action in the Pack’s 82-76 win over Montana State at Lawlor Events Center.

“He practiced better,” Nevada coach Mark Fox said. “It also was a better match-up to start with. Demarshay hasn’t done anything wrong, and he handled it like the unselfish senior should.

“I thought it was a better match-up against their big men (Adrian Zamora and Divaldo Mbunga). He (LaGrone) started well. He got off to a good start.”

Johnson had one of his most productive games of the season, scoring 11 points and pulling down eight rebounds.

“It really doesn’t matter,” Johnson said when asked about coming off the bench. Johnson said he just wants to contribute.

Johnson’s dunk with 1:54 left gave the Pack a 73-68 lead, and MSU never got closer than four points the rest of the way.

DROUGHT IS OVER

It’s been a frustrating season for shooting guard Ray Kraemer, who had yet to score this season.

Kraemer scored five points, all in the second half. His 3-pointer gave Nevada a 46-45 lead, and he later tied the game at 52 with a layup.

“Ray has really practiced well,” Fox said. “He’s a good shooter. I didn’t see him lose his confidence.”

KEMP MOVES UP

Marcelus Kemp sank three 3-pointers to move into third place in the Nevada record book.

Kemp has 171 treys. He moved past Jimmy Carroll, who had 170 three-pointers made in his career (1996-98).

This marked Kemp’s fourth 20-point game of the year and his 17th consecutive game in double figures.

QUICK CHANGEOVER

The personnel at Lawlor Events Center had a long day.

Winter commencement started at 8:30 a.m., and the Lawlor staff had the arena ready for Nevada’s afternoon shootaround at 2 p.m.

The game was moved back by 30 minutes, but it wasn’t needed.

FACTS & FIGURES

This was the second game this year that Nevada had four players in double figures. UC Irvine was the other game… Nevada won the rebound battle for just the third time this season. This was the first time all season that Montana State was beaten on the boards … The 82 points and 18 assists were both season bests for Nevada … Nevada is now 3-0 when leading at the half, but only 2-3 in games decided by 10 points or less … Nevada is 2-2 in Saturday games … Nevada now leads the all-time series 21-17 and has won nine of the last 10 in the series … Armon Johnson reached double figures for the fourth time and JaVale McGee for the fifth time … The loss snapped a three-game losing streak … Brandon Fields has made 8 of his last 17 3-point attempts spanning three games.