Nevada begins four-game road trip
Appeal Sports Writer
Four games in 10 days, and to make it worse all of them are on the road.
That’s what faces Mark Fox and the Nevada Wolf Pack (1-0), as they face the Vermont Catamounts (0-2) in the first leg of a four-city road trip.
Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. at tiny Patrick Gym, which seats 3,266. The Catamounts have sold out 15 straight games, and another capacity crowd is expected.
After Vermont, it’s on to Las Vegas to play arch-rival UNLV on Saturday. Next week, the Pack visit Kansas on Thursday and travel to Stockton for a Saturday game to play Pacific.
Obviously, Vermont is first and foremost on the mind of Fox. Nevada has played Vermont each of the last two years, winning 69-49 in the Preseason NIT two years ago and 74-64 in the Bracket Buster game.
“They have a lot of new faces,” said Fox, who said he has seen tape of this year’s team. “They still have good shooters. We’re going to have to defend the 3-pointer.
“They have a completely new system. So much of what they did the last few years was predicated on what their big man (Taylor Coppenrath) and point guard (T.J. Sorrentine) did. They are running more of a true motion offense.”
Martin Klimes (7 points, 5 rebounds per game), a 6-8 forward from Prague, is the only returning starter for new coach Mike Lonergan. He had the task of trying to guard the Pack’s Nick Fazekas in last year’s Bracket Buster game, and Fazekas had a huge offensive game.
Josh Duell, Ryan Schneider, Tim McCrory, Chad Powlovich and Kyle Cieplicki are the other returnees.
Schneider is off to a fast start through the first two games, shooting 41 percent from the floor, including 47 percent on 3-pointers. Cieplicki has hit just 1 for 13 from the field, and Vermont needs him to contribute more.
The top newcomers are freshman point guard Mike Trimboli, who is 12 for 25 overall from the field, including 5 of 13 from 3-point range. Trimboli spent last year at a prep school, gaining some much-needed experience.
Vermont coach Mike Lonergan has been disappointed with his team’s offensive showings against Harvard and Providence. The team is shooting 40 percent.
“We’re not very big and we’re not deep, but I thought we had good shooters,” Lonergan said. “I’m disappointed we haven’t shot the ball better. I don’t think it’s shot selection. We shot the ball poorly in the first half against Providence and were only down five.
“Schneider is a good shooter, but he’s erratic. Trimboli is a good player, a tough kid. He’s kept us in games with his scoring. People have tried to compare him to Sorrentine, but Sorrentine was much quicker and could push the ball.”
Lonergan said he didn’t get a scouting report until late Monday night. He knows all about Fazekas and described the Pack as “very athletic.”
On Tuesday, Fazekas was one of 50 preseason candidates selected for the Naismith Trophy. The list was compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. The award is annually given to the top player in the country.
Fazekas is coming off a 28-point, 14-rebound effort against Sacramento State.
He and the Pack will face a rowdy crowd tonight. It’s Championship Banner Raising Night, so no doubt it will be emotional, and Lonergan hopes his team can parlay that into an improved performance and an upset win.
The Pack were road warriors last year, going 11-3 away from home, including a perfect 9-0 during the Western Athletic Conference schedule.
“Last year’s team was a good road team,” Fox said. “I don’t want to give this team credit. I don’t know if this team will be. We were a good rebounding team, played good defense and good in the half-court.
“Poise offensively and execution (are key on the road). You also have to be able to defend. At home you can get away with more.”
Contact Darrell Moody at email@example.com, or by calling (775) 881-1281
NEVADA (1-0) at VERMONT (0-2)
When: Today, 4 p.m.
Where: Patrick Gym (3,266)
Radio: ESPN Radio, pre-game show at 3:35 p.m.
Coaches: Nevada’s Mark Fox (26-7) is in his 2nd season; Vermont’s Mike Lonergan (0-2) is in his 1st season
Probable starters: Nevada – F Nick Fazekas and Mo Charlo; C Chad Bell; G Kyle Shiloh and Ramon Sessions. Vermont – F Ryan Schneider and Martin Klimes; C Chris Holm; G Mike Trimboli and Kyle Cieplicki