Growing pains still for freshmen
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – From the beginning of the season, Nevada basketball coach Mark Fox has stressed that whoever plays better in practice will play in the games.
If you look at the boxscore from Tuesday night’s 83-64 win over UC Irvine at Lawlor Events Center, the Pack’s younger players are in the doghouse.
JaVale McGee and Brandon Fields only got two minutes apiece, and Richie Phillips and Matt LaGrone only got in a minute apiece. Tyrone Hanson didn’t get in at all.
“I’m going with guys that practice well,” Fox said. “I’m disappointed. The freshmen didn’t practice well.”
Fox was whistled for a technical foul with 9:23 left in the game and Nevada ahead 66-48.
Fox was incensed when a beautiful drive to the basket by Ramon Sessions was wiped out on a traveling call by veteran official Mike Scyphers.
Fox didn’t say a whole lot at the time, but became angry when Irvine players weren’t called for walking a couple of different times thereafter. He threw his coat down and Shawn Lehigh whistled Fox for the infraction.
“I acted like a fool,” Fox said when asked about the technical in the post-game news conference. “I have to apologize to our fans.”
MOVING ON UP
Nick Fazekas, who went 10-for-13 at the line en route to a 29-point effort, moved into a second-place tie with former teammate Garry Hill-Thomas for career free throws made. Both have 437, and Fazekas accomplished it in 22 less games than Hill-Thomas.
The 29 points matched his season high against Alaska-Anchorage.
Point guard Ramon Sessions, who dished out seven assists, moved past Curtis High and into seventh place on the all-time career assist list. Sessions now has 339, and he needs 36 more to pass Mike Mardian and move into sixth place.
Nevada starts its first extended road trip of the season on Saturday when it travels to Santa Clara. After facing the Broncos, Nevada plays at Louisiana-Lafayette on Nov. 29 and then goes back to the Bay Area to play Cal on Dec. 3 in the Pete Newell Challenge at HP Pavilion in San Jose.
Fox was asked if his young team is ready.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I’m worrying about the first game. We’re playing a team coming off a loss that can shoot the ball well. They beat Utah, so we’re going to have our hands full.”
Nevada extended its home winning streak to 12 games, dating back to last season. The Pack are 48-5 at home since the 2003-04 season … Nevada enjoyed a slim 29-27 edge on the boards, and that’s the fourth straight game Nevada has won the rebound battle … Nevada leads the all-time series with Irvine 11-5 … Kemp is 15 of 25 from 3-point range thus far after four games, which leads the WAC … Nevada was 10-3 on the road last season and won its only road game thus far, a 75-47 drubbing of Oregon State … Denis Ikovlev made his fourth straight start, and he’s averaging 6.2 points a game and 4.3 rebounds a contest … Nevada only had eight turnovers and 19 assists on 27 baskets, which is a nice stat … Nevada converted 17 Irvine turnovers into 22 points … If you want to see a half-court team, it’s Irvine. The Anteaters had zero fast-break points … The game was tied once (7-all) and there was one lead change.
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