Nevada bids farewell to its three seniors
Appeal Sports Writer
NEW ORLEANS, La. – Certainly the season ended at least a week earlier than the Nevada basketball team would have liked.
Nevada went without a point for the final six-plus minutes, costing it a chance to make the Sweet 16 for the second time in four years.
The loss eliminated Nevada from the NCAA Tournament, and it also meant the end of the line for Nevada seniors Nick Fazekas (20 points, seven rebounds), Kyle Shiloh (nine points, three assists) and Denis Ikovlev (11 points, five rebounds).
No doubt it was a tearful farewell, especially for Fazekas and Shiloh, who were part of a school-record 106 wins during their four-year careers and made the NCAAs each of their four years.
“I already told Nick and Kyle in the locker room that this senior class has given so much to our community, our university and our state,” Nevada coach Mark Fox said. “More importantly, they’ve given our basketball program a tradition and no one can take that away.
“He (Fazekas) has left a legacy that will be hard to measure up against. He knows the impact he has made on me as a person, our community and our team. One miss will not define what he has done.”
Fazekas finished with 20 points and seven rebounds. It was the 20th time this season that he has scored 20 or more points. He finished his Nevada career as the all-time leading scorer with 2,464 points, was tops in shot blocking and No. 2 in rebounding (1,254).
“It feels great,” said Fazekas when asked about being known as Nevada best-ever player. “I hope they are saying that 20 years down the road. Definitely I had a great career.”
Fazekas will now focus his efforts on the upcoming NBA Draft. He was hopeful of going in the first round, but nothing is certain.
Shiloh, who lived with Fazekas the first two years, said he will miss his 6-foot-11 teammate.
“Nick is a great guy,” Shiloh said. “I think of him not only as a teammate, but as a friend.”
What’s ahead for Shiloh, who has been a fan favorite for three years because of his unselfish play, defense and clutch 3-point shooting?
“I have no idea what’s in my future,” he said. Shiloh said he’s not sure he wants to coach.
Ikovlev drained three 3-pointers in four attempts, adding two assists and two turnovers.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” Ikovlev said of his career overview. “I could have taken better care of the ball. I just played the way I did in the year. If they tried to play off me, I was going to take my shot. Two days ago they didn’t go in. Today they did.”
Memphis’ bench, led by Jeremy Hunt’s 16 points and 10 by Andre Allen, outscored Nevada 31-2. In their first two tournament games, Memphis has outscored opponents 62-6.
Freshman Brandon Fields scored Nevada’s only basket off the bench.
“We are a deep team,” Memphis’ Antonio Anderson said. “When guys get their chance to play, they make the best of it and that is why we do what we do.”
Chris Douglas-Roberts, Memphis’ top scorer, suffered a mild-to-moderate sprain of his left ankle with 8 minutes, 11 seconds left in Sunday’s win over Nevada, and his status is uncertain for Thursday’s Sweet 16 game against Texas A & M.
“They put ice on it,” Memphis coach John Calipari said. “He was hurting. He said he was playing Thursday.”
Roberts finished with 16 points, hitting 3-of-8 from the field and 10-of-12 from the foul line.
HIT THOSE FREEBIES
Memphis entered the game shooting 61 percent from the line, which was one of the worst marks in the country.
The team had gone so far as to start visualizing their attempts, and not practicing free throws.
Memphis knocked down 26-of-34 for 76.5 percent, including 8-of-12 in the last five minutes.
This was just the sixth time all season that Nevada has been out-rebounded. Memphis, led by Antonio Anderson (10 rebounds), Joey Dorsey (nine rebounds) and Robert Dozier (eightrebounds) … Nevada point guard Ramon Sessions suffered through one of his worst performances, going 1-of-8 from the floor, which tied his season-low performance against Fresno State. This was he third time this season that Sessions scored only two points in the game … Nevada blocked five shots, all in the first half.
• Contact Darrell Moody at email@example.com, or by calling (775) 881-1281