Kemp, Sessions come off the bench for Pack | NevadaAppeal.com

Kemp, Sessions come off the bench for Pack

RENO – Marcelus Kemp and Ramon Sessions were conspicuous by their absence from the starting lineup Friday night.

“They have to work a little harder in regards to practice,” Nevada coach Mark Fox said after Nevada’s easy 85-62 season-opening win over University of Alaska-Anchorage. “They need to be complete players. They aren’t in trouble. They are both good kids.”

Neither seemed fazed by coming off the bench. Sessions finished with 15 points and six assists in 18 minutes, and Kemp, after a slow start, scored 17 points on 5-for-8 from the 3-point line and two foul shots in his 17-minute stint. Fourteen of those points came in the second half.

Sessions knocked down two 3-point shots in the first half, helping spark Nevada to a 22-11 lead. Kemp knocked down four treys in less than three minutes, extending Nevada’s lead to 77-44.

TWO SIGN WITH PACK

Hug’s Armon Johnson and Maiik Cooke from North Carolina signed national letters of intent to play for the Pack starting next fall.

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Johnson, the Hawks’ 6-3 guard, was the Northern Nevada 4A Co-Player of the Year with Galena’s Luke Babbitt. He averaged 30.4 a game and 7.6 rebounds a contest.

“Armon is a combo guard who really knows how to score,” Fox said. “It is so pleasing to have a local player who wants to stay here and play. He will eventually play both backcourt positions.”

Cooke averaged 19 points and 9.5 rebounds as a junior. He helped his team to a state title his sophomore year.

“Malik is a true small forward,” Fox said. “He is a long, athletic player who can finish. He has a real knack of getting to the glass. I really wanted a true small forward and he is one.”

OPEN INVITATION

Alaska-Anchorage coach Rusty Osborne indicated the Wolf Pack have an open invitation to play in the annual Great Alaska Shootout.

Osborne said he would welcome Nevada any year that no other WAC team was in the tournament. Hawai’i is playing in the event this year, and Osborne said he has Michigan lined up for next season. Cal, which plays Nevada Dec. 3 in the Pete Newell Challenge, also is in this year’s Great Alaska Shootout.

MUCH IMPROVED

On Tuesday, freshman JaVale McGee went scoreless and fouled out in his 13-minute stint.

McGee played much better against Alaska-Anchorage, scoring five points, grabbing three rebounds, blocking a shot and collecting three steals. He had the best game of all the freshmen.

“They all played a little better defensively,” Fox said of his young group. “JaVale played a little better. Richie (Phillips) is still a little behind because of his injury (fractured shin requiring surgery).”

NOTABLES

Matt LaGrone took a nasty spill late in the game, and Fox was unsure how severe the injury was … Denis Ikovlev made his second straight start and responded with nine points and five rebounds … Nevada should get a stiff test on Wednesday when it visits Oregon State. Gill Coliseum is a pretty tough place to play, and Nevada has a lot of young players … Nevada finished with 24 assists on 32 baskets, which pleased Fox.

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