Ikovlev happy to play well against Northern Iowa | NevadaAppeal.com

Ikovlev happy to play well against Northern Iowa

DARRELL MOODY
Appeal Sports Writer

RENO – Nevada forward Denis Ikovlev was recruited by Northern Iowa during his junior college days in nearby Iowa Falls, and he was obviously pleased to have a productive game against the Panthers.

Ikovlev scored nine points, all on 3-pointers, to help the 10th-ranked Pack knock off Northern Iowa 79-64 Saturday afternoon at Lawlor Events Center.

“It was nice to play well against them,” said Ikovlev. “My old high school coach was here to watch me play, and I don’t usually play well when he’s here.

“I was recruited after my freshman year by Northern Iowa. I didn’t think I was ready. I wanted to wait around another year.”

The move has paid dividends. Ikovlev, after a sub-par junior year, is averaging 6.4 points and 4.0 rebounds per contest and he’s started all 26 Nevada games.

MOVING ON UP

Nick Fazekas grabbed eight rebounds and passed former Louisiana Tech great Paul Millsap to move into fourth place on the all-time career list in the WAC.

Fazekas has 1,175 caroms during his career, while Millsap finished with 1,172. The Nevada star needs 16 to pass Arizona’s Al Fleming, who had 1,190 and is currently in third place.

“He (Millsap) only played three years,” Fazekas said. “He was definitely an animal. Paul and I used to battle hard.”

Fazekas’ 17 points leaves him with 2,306, five shy of ex-New Mexico great Fennis Dembo, who finished his Lobo career with 2,311.

MCGEE PRODUCTIVE

Freshman JaVale McGee scored five points, pulled down three rebounds and blocked a shot in his 15-minute stint.

He has scored nine points, pulled down six rebounds and blocked three shots in the last three games. Generally, he appears more comfortable at both ends of the floor.

He was able to give Nevada some good minutes when Fazekas picked up his third foul early in the second half.

FAZEKAS GETS LOVE

Fazekas got some recent love from none other than Dick Vitale, who said Fazekas is part of his all Rolls Royce squad.

Vitale said that Fazekas doesn’t get the exposure compared to other players across the country. No duh, Dick. The WAC’s crappy TV deal with ESPN keeps a lot of people in the dark regarding the WAC.

Besides Fazekas, Vitale said Kevin Durant and Alando Tucker would be on his team. Vitale said his other two spots are open.

BRACKETOLOGY REPORT

Nevada is currently listed as a No. 4 seed in ESPN’s bracketology report which is authored by Joe Lunardi. The Pack’s first-round opponent is Long Beach State in Spokane, and that site is part of the San Jose Regional.

Nevada garnered a No. 3 seed in ESPN’s Power 16.

NOTABLES

Gov. Jim Gibbons and Congressmen Dean Heller of Carson City were guests of lobbyist Harvey Whittemore … The game was officiated by a Missouri Valley Conference crew, and the local fans were not enamored, especially when the trio missed an obvious backcourt violation and a goaltend by Eric Coleman … There were five ties in the first half, and Nevada owned the biggest lead of the half (eight points) at 17-9… The win was Nevada’s first over Northern Iowa. Northern Iowa won the previous two contests in 1989 and 1990. Both NIU wins were by one point… The loss by Northern Iowa was its first in five BracketBuster games. Nevada is now 4-0 in the event… Nevada will return this year’s game next season on Dec. 22… Junior David Ellis didn’t play for the first time all season. Fox said he was healthy… Marcelus Kemp tied a career high with nine rebounds. He also produced six assists.

•Contact Darrell Moody at dmoody@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1281