Nevada men make their point
RENO – Point guard is a big concern for the Nevada basketball team this season, and sophomore Kyle Shiloh and freshman Ramon Sessions are aware of the expectations placed on them.
The duo passed the first test, combining for 10 points, 11 assists and only three turnovers in Nevada’s season-opening 77-63 exhibition win over Dominican University before a crowd of 2,034 Thursday night at Lawlor Events Center.
Sessions, the South Carolina 3A Player of the Year, had six assists, six rebounds and one assist to go with a 1-for-11 shooting effort in his team-high 32-minute stint as the starter. Shiloh, who saw limited minutes behind the graduated Todd Okeson last season, contributed seven points, five assists and only two turnovers plus a 1-for-7 effort from the field while playing both guard spots.
“They didn’t shoot the ball well,” first-year head coach Mark Fox said. “Their assist-to-turnover ratio was good. When we play them together, it’s easier to handle a little pressure. That’s (22 assists) a good sign for our team. Usually early in the year teams are throwing the ball all over the place. We did a nice job of taking care of the ball.”
Sessions admitted he had a few jitters. That was hard to see. He played with the aplomb of a junior or senior. He made solid decisions on the floor, and that’s what Fox is looking for at that position. Scoring will be secondary.
“First college game I had little jitters,” Sessions said. “I try to be the floor leader. I felt like I had some good looks at the basket. It was just that type of night (shooting).”
Sessions’ play caught the eye of Dominican coach Bill Treseler.
“I was hoping we could get into him (being a freshman),” Treseler said. “He looked pretty solid. He didn’t get rattled and kept control of the team.
“I liked Nevada’s effort. They definitely tried to take advantage of their (height) advantage. They seemed to be executing pretty well.” Forty-two of Nevada’s 77 points came in the paint.
Fox saw some things he liked and obviously some things he didn’t like in his young team.
“I thought we had moments when we executed OK offensively,” he said. “We didn’t run a lot of stuff. I was glad to see them run a man-to-man because it gave us a chance to work on things. I didn’t think we did a good job defensively. We gave them way too many easy shots at the rim. I don’t think anybody got a passing grade (defensively)
“You name it, we need to work on it. We’re not good enough defensively. Offensively we have a long ways to go.”
Except for Nick Fazekas. The Wolf Pack got a tremendous effort at both ends of the floor from Their talented forward, who finished with 22 points (8-for-11 shooting), six rebounds, three blocked shots and two assists in 21 minutes.
“It felt good, finally being back in the gym with the lights on,” the 6-11 sophomore said. “It’s definitely better than being at practice. I don’t think we were too rusty.”
Fazekas scored the first nine points of the game, including a three-pointer, to spark Nevada to a 11-0 lead in the first 4 minutes 12 seconds.
“He’s very athletic and tough to cover because he can shoot inside and outside,” Treseler said. “There was a lid on the basket the first few minutes, and we got into a hole.”
Indeed. The lead stayed in double digits throughout most of the first half thanks to Fazekas, 7-foot junior transfer Chad Bell (6 points) and Jermaine Washington (6 points). Dominican, thanks to ex-Galena standout Lance Buoncristiani (five points) and Brandon Quick (seven points) went on a 13-6 run to close the gap to 31-23 with 2:35 left in the half.
Armed with a 10-point halftime lead, Nevada went on a 12-3 run to open the second half to take a 51-32 lead. Washington, Nevada’s best offensive rebounder, scored on two putbacks and a free throw to lead the way and Fazekas added two inside buckets. Washington finished with a double-double – 15 points and 11 rebounds.
“I’m pretty happy (with my play),” Washington said. “The first half I didn’t play that well, and coach talked to me a little bit. I had a lot of energy and practiced real well this week.”
Nevada built its biggest lead of the game, 63-42 with 6:45 left as Shiloh keyed a 10-3 run with a short fade away jump shot and three free throws.
Notes: Swingman Mo Charlo didn’t play until midway in the second half, partially because he’s been sick and partially because he may have missed a class, though Fox never came right out and said that. Charlo had two points, two turnovers and a rebound in his three-minute stint… Freshman center David Ellis finished with nine points, three rebounds, one assist and one blocked shot in his 20 minutes and earned some praise from Fox… Buoncristiani finished with nine points and four rebounds in 32 minutes… The Wolf Pack shot 47.5 from the floor and Dominican hit only 37 percent… Nevada returns to action Nov. 13 against Seattle Pacific, a Division II team, at 8:05. It’s part of a doubleheader with the women. The Nevada women play Chico State at 5:30 p.m.
Contact Darrell Moody at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1281.