Nevada men’s basketball to host Humboldt State | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada men’s basketball to host Humboldt State

DARRELL MOODY
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO - Two years ago, Humboldt State stunned Nevada, 73-71, in the Pack's final exhibition game.

At the end of the game, Humboldt State players and their small enotourage of fans celebrated like they had won a national championship.

“It was fun,” HSU coach Tom Wood said. “I’m not belittling it. The win was good for our program. We were No.1 in Division II at the time, and that reinforced what people thought about us early.

“I think Nevada was getting ready to play UConn and I think Kansas was out there. I don’t think they looked at Humboldt State seriously. We had a ton of seniors and we could line up right and that meant a lot.”

Humboldt State is back in town to take on the 22nd-ranked Pack tonight (7:05 p.m.) in an exhibition game at Lawlor Events Center. The Pack, despite a sub-par defensive and rebounding effort, are coming off a 77-69 win over Rockhurst University back on Nov. 3.

“We got beat, that’s about the only memory I have,” said Nevada head coach Mark Fox, who was the team’s top assistant that year. “We’re exchamging films. It might help. We’re only concerned about ourselves.

“I don’t know that we’re changing emphasis. We’ve been a good defense and rebounding team. We’re not there yet. They (Humboldt State) can shoot the basketball.”

Indeed. The Lumberjacks shot 56 percent from the floor in their 121-90 victory over the Northwest All-Stars last wekend. The ‘Jacks shot 45.2 from three-point range.

“A lot of those were in transition,” Wood said. “They would only get one guy back and he would be down in the key, and we came downcourt and shot the 3. We’re not afraid to shoot the 3. Sometimes we shoot it too quick, though.

“Last week was good for us. It was an opportunity to play again. That team exposed some of the things we need to work on.”

No doubt defense was one of those things. Wood wasn’t enthralled that his team gave up 90 points. If his team gives up 90 tonight, it could be a long 40 minutes.

The ‘Jacks return many of their top players from a year ago in 6-7 forward Kevin Johnson (13.8 points, 11.4 rebounds per game), 6-5 guard Grayson Moyer (14.1), 6-4 forward Devin Peal (13.0), 6-1 guard Jeremiah Ward (8.7) and 6-9 250-pound center Cy Vandermeer (6.0, 3.3). Peal is coming back from off-season knee surgery.

“Kevin is a good rebounder and he can shoot the 3 some,” Wood said. “Moyer is a solid player. Jeremiah is very athletic. Peal tore his ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) last December. He’s still a little hobbled.”

Ramon Sessions missed Tuesday’s practice with a hip injury, but Fox expects him to play today. Fans also will get their first look at Marcelus Kemp, who sat out the first exhibition game because he missed an orientation meeting late last summer.

Contact Darrell Moody at dmoody@nevadaappeal.com, or by calling (775) 881-1281