Nevada basketball beats San Francisco State in exhibition
Nevada Appeal Sports Writer
RENO ” Nevada fans got a glimpse of the future on Saturday night, and it looked pretty promising.
Newcomers Joey Shaw, a JC transfer, and freshman Luke Babbitt combined for 41 points, and sophomore returner Malik Cooke contributed 14 points and a team-high 10 rebounds to lead Nevada to an easy 89-67 exhibition win over San Francisco State before a crowd of 4,408 at Lawlor Events Center.
Shaw, who has a year at Indiana already under his belt, scored 25 points. He went 5-for-10 from the floor and knocked down 13 of 14 from the line, including 13 in a row. Babbitt, who was treated to chants of Luuuuuuuuuke whenever he did well, scored 16 points on 6-for-12 shooting, blocked two shots and pulled down four rebounds, three at the offensive end.
“Joey played well,” Nevada coach Mark Fox said. “I told him that he plays harder than he practices. He’s a good player. We felt he could make a lot of plays which is why I recruited him. Malik has been our most consistent player the first three weeks. Luke was solid. He did some things we were pleased with, and he had some teachable moments.
“We got about what we wanted tonight. A lot of things still to learn and a lot of areas to improve on. Our defense wasn’t very good. We had no scouting report. We had some awful moments defensively.”
Still, Nevada dominated most of the night. Nevada won the battle of the boards 42-29 which led to 12 second-chance points. The closest the outmanned Gators came was nine points, 52-43 with 13:29 left in the game.
“We just got challenged by a very good team,” SF State coach Bill Treseler said. “I knew we’d have our hands full. We won’t see this again the entire season, even if we were to go to the finals of the NCAAs in our division.
“I thought he (Shaw) made some very tough shots. There was nothing wrong with our defense. He was a tough guard for us.”
Nevada was the aggressor throughout, and that aggressiveness gave Nevada quite a few opportunities at the foul line in the first half. Nevada went 16 for 19 at the line. The Gators didn’t shoot any free throws.
Nevada was in the bonus for the final 8 minutes 43 seconds of the first half en route to a 46-25 halftime lead, which was keyed by a 24-7 half-ending run.
Shaw and Cooke led the Pack with 11 points apiece, and Babbitt followed with 10.
San Francisco State had the lead four times in the first half ” 7-4, 9-8 , 11-10 and 16-15, the last lead coming on a jump shot by ex-South Tahoe star Vince Capellino.
Leading 22-18 with 9:07 left, Nevada went on its long aforementioned run. The Gators went 0-for-6 and turned the ball over four times in that span.
Ray Kraemer started the barrage with a 3-pointer, and following a Gator misfire, Cooke rifled in a 3-pointer to make it 30-21. Phoenix O’Rourke scored when Babbitt was called for goaltending, and Nevada went on a 11-0 run, led by Babbitt and Shaw, to make it 41-23 with 1:45 left in the half.
“We made a point not to foul them and put them on the line,” Fox said. “The first four minutes of the second half was a complete reversal (Nevada was called for eight fouls). We started the (second) half very poorly. The first half it was certainly a bonus to get to the line.”
Indeed. When you consider Nevada only had two more field goals than San Francisco State in the opening half, the Pack might have been facing a deficit were it not for the free throws.
The Gators opened the second half with a 15-6 run, cutting the lead to 52-43. Will Logan, who led the Gators with 17 points, knocked down a 3-pointer as did Darryl Robinson.
That seemed to snap the Pack out of its lethargy. A 25-9 run led by Ray Kraemer (12 points), Shaw and Babbitt gave Nevada a 77-52 lead with 6:27 left in the game.
Kraemer started the barrage when he dropped in a 3-pointer from the wing. After Brad Visman scored for the Gators, Kraemer and the Gators’ Robert Hayes traded free throws to make it 57-47. Babbitt followed with two free throws, Cooke with one and Shaw with three for a 63-47 edge with 11:17 left.
After a San Francisco State score, Kraemer dropped in a free throw and then scored on a lay-up. A pull-up jump shot by Shaw off a turnover padded the lead to 68-49. The Gators never got any closer.
“I thought we played well as a team,” Shaw said. “It was good to be out there having fun.”
Kraemer, whose defensive problems kept him off the floor at times last year, scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds in 26 minutes.
“He played hard,” Fox said. “There were a couple of times where I thought he was on a different planet. He made errors I’d never seen him make.”
A win is a win, and the main thing is daily improvement.
“We’ll take this as a learning experience,” Babbitt said. “We did some good things and we did some bad things.”