Nevada G Johnson gets benched after dunk
RENO – Junior guard Armon Johnson was benched by first-year coach David Carter for the final 7 minutes, 13 seconds of Nevada’s 75-61 win over Montana State on Saturday night at Lawlor Events Center.
Johnson was going for an uncontested layup with a little less than eight minutes left when he threw the ball off the backboard to set up a dunk attempt. The ball went too high and Johnson was unable to finish off the play. He was taken out at the next dead ball.
“I tried it and missed,” Johnson said.
Carter said that he would have taken Johnson out whether he would have made the shot or not.
“We’re not going to disrespect the game,” Carter said. “I told him that he can dunk the ball easily, why not just do that. He understood. It’s not Nevada basketball.”
A RELAXED CARTER
Fans got a glimpse of how Carter will conduct himself on the bench this year.
When the Wolf Pack went up by 25 points in the first half, he stayed seated. When the Wolf Pack was shooting 36 percent in the second half and playing poorly, he stayed seated.
It was a far cry from the Mark Fox era. Fox often went on sideline tirades when things didn’t go well or when he just wanted to get his team’s attention.
“It’s not about me,” said Carter. “I want to stay focused. I like to sit down.”
Carter was asked if he changed anything about his game-day schedule now that he’s a head coach.
“Tuesday (before the Chico State exhibition game) I went home for the first time in 10 years to change clothes,” Carter said. “Usually I just stayed on campus all day. I got distracted when I went home.”
Carter said he got about 100 texts wishing him well. He said that he got messages from Fox, Trent Johnson and Kwanza Johnson, who joined Fox at Georgia.
“My phone is probably burning up now,” Carter said.
TOUGH STRETCH AHEAD
The Pack faces a tough five-game stretch, four on the road, starting Wednesday night when it visits archrival UNLV.
After the Rebels, Nevada returns home to face Houston on Saturday. Then it’s three straight on the road – Virginia Commonwealth
(Nov. 27) in the BracketBuster return game from last year, North Carolina (Nov. 29) and Pacific (Dec. 5).
It will be interesting to see how the Pack responds. The team is still a work in progress in that it is trying to learn a new offense and defense on the run.
“We’re still improving,” Johnson said. “We’re trying to learn everything.”
Montana State suited up just eight players for the game, as returning starters Marquis Navarre and Will Bynum will miss the first three games of the season after participating in an unsanctioned basketball event this past summer. Two other players are also battling eligibility issues.
WAC GOES 2-1
The WAC went 2-1 Saturday night. Besides the Nevada win, Louisiana Tech knocked off Texas Pan American 80-62. The only setback was Boise State’s 95-82 defeat at the hands of Montana.
CAMEO FOR FEUTSCH
Former Bishop Manogue star Keith Feutsch played the final 1:51 of the contest and registered a blocked shot.
Sophomore Dario Hunt blocked five shots in the game, marking the 23rd time in his career that he has blocked more than one shot and his fourth career game with five or more blocks.
Carson City’s John and Laura Valley were named the RC Willey winners and received upgraded seats … The Wolf Pack have won 51 of its last 63 games at Lawlor Events Center, including 24 of its last 36 … Nevada now has a 23-17 edge over the Bobcats …The win marked the sixth time in seven seasons that the Wolf Pack has opened the year with a victory.
and gave Carter his first career victory. Carter becomes the eighth head coach in school history to win his first game, joining Johnson and Fox who also won their Wolf Pack debuts.