Kemp redeems himself for Nevada
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – In his eyes, Marcelus Kemp said he needed to redeem himself for his play in the first Hawai’i-Nevada game.
Mission accomplished. Kemp scored a team-high 21 points, knocking down 8-for-13 from the floor in Nevada’s 73-55 win Saturday night.
Kemp had felt bad ever since the Jan. 5 overtime loss at Hawai’i. He had a chance to win the game in regulation, but missed a 20-foot jump shot, and then he was called for a charge in the waning seconds of overtime.
“I was ready for this game,” Kemp said. “It (the first loss) was my fault, and I took it personally.”
Kemp ignited a 15-2 first-half run with two 3-pointers, and late in the second half he converted a layup and two free throws to get Nevada’s lead back over 20 points.
Kemp was coming off two sub-par shooting games – 2-for-10 in the loss to Utah State and 3-for-8 in the win at Boise State.
“My feet were more square to the basket,” Kemp said. ‘That helped a little bit. I was hurrying my shots and shooting off-balance shots.”
“He gets impatient a lot of the time,” Nevada coach Mark Fox said. “He wasn’t squared up and he was floating. He was more patient tonight. He got himself level before he shot.”
Kemp is averaging 13.7 heading into Thursday’s key matchup at Louisiana Tech.
MO COMING ON
Fox praised the play of senior forward Mo Charlo, who scored 10 points on 5-for-8 shooting, dished out six assists, blocked two shots and did a nice defensive job on Julian Sensley, the Rainbow Warriors’ leading scorer.
Charlo came off the bench for the second straight game, and said it doesn’t make any difference to him.
“He did a lot of things,” Fox said. “He’s playing within himself.
“Mo hasn’t been putting up the numbers, but both he and Marcelus are starting to come out of it.”
OKESON IN THE STANDS
Former Pack star Todd Okeson was on hand to watch his old team.
Okeson, who plays for the San Jose franchise in the American Basketball League, was recently named to the conference all-star squad.
Okeson is averaging around 10 points and six assists a game to help San Jose to a 16-5 record. He is strictly playing point guard these days.
“It’s a faster-paced game,” Okeson said. “With a 24-second shot clock…there are some nights when we’ve scored over 120. It’s up and down all game.”
ALTITUDE A FACTOR
Hawai’i coach Riley Wallace admitted that altitude was a factor. That and not having much depth make it tough for his team to play at Nevada where it has lost nine straight times.
Wallace said he tried to sub a lot to combat the altitude, but said his team was tired.
He said his players tend to cling to their man and that the help defense wasn’t there, allowing Nevada players to drive down the lane many times.
SOME FOOTBALL NEWS
Cary Groth, Nevada’s athletic director who recently received a 3-year contract extension, said the school is coming close with football coach Chris Ault on a contract extension.
Ault, who guided the Pack to a 9-3 record, a share of the WAC championship and a win in the Hawai’i Bowl, has one year left on his contract.
“Coach Ault is thinking about things,” Groth said. “We’re going to meet and hopefully have something worked out quickly. We may make an announcement on letter of intent day. Not sure that I want to take away from the kids.”
Louisiana Tech improved to 7-1 with an overtime win over Fresno State, and the Bulldogs will be tough with 6-8 250-pound Paul Millsap in the middle.
Millsap has been tough on Nevada, but the Bulldogs haven’t found an answer for Nick Fazekas, who is averaging 21.2 points and 10.2 rebounds in four games against Louisiana Tech.
FACTS & FIGURES
All 11,485 tickets were sold, but there were more than 1,000 no-shows … Kyle Shiloh scored seven, but did hit his only 3-point attempt. He’s hit 33 of his last 60 field goal attempts, including 20 of 32 from 3-point land … Nevada is now 9-1 at Lawlor Events Center … This loss was the worst of the season for Hawai’i. Previously, Hawai’i had lost three games by three points … Nevada is 11-2 this year when out-rebounding opponents.