Nevada Notes: Musselman apologizes for language on live TV
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Nevada basketball coach Eric Musselman got caught up in the moment on Friday.
After rallying from 14 down in the second half en route to an 87-83 overtime win over Texas, several profanities were heard on TV after the game.
“First of all, we’d like to apologize for any language that might have been caught on TV,” Musselman said. “Obviously, we had an excited locker room. We apologize for that.”
Hall shines off the bench
Sophomore Josh Hall filled up the stat sheet with 15 points, six rebounds one block and one steal.
Hall showed good poise in the Mountain West tournament last week, averaging 12 points a contest. Friday, he made some key plays.
He scored on a layup to cut the lead to 66-65 with 1:10 left in regulation, and then he made a free throw to extend the Pack’s lead to 84-80 with 38 seconds left in overtime.
Against Iowa State last year, he had four points and three rebounds in just four minutes of play.
“I want to win. Plain and simple,” Hall said when asked about his postseason success. “I just want to win. Not only do I want to play good, but I want my team to play well. I want to advance. We didn’t win last year. Winning this game was really big for us and shows we’re a better team than last year and moving in the right direction.”
“He had really good shot selection,” Musselman said. “He’s such a good basket cutter. Defensively, he gives us another dimension. I mean, we had a conversation at the very beginning of the year about whether to start or not start. You know, he told me, and he told other guys on the staff that he was fine coming off the bench and so that’s kind of been his role.”
Hall plays starter minutes. In the last 10 games last year, he only played less than 20 minutes twice. He does the dirty work — defense and offensive rebounding — that sometimes goes unnoticed.
“We look at him in the entire season as a starter, and obviously, to play him the minutes that we did last year, you know, over even guys that were seniors and stuff,” Musselman said. “I mean I have great confidence in him. Late game, we had him as an in-bounder because I have confidence in him.”
UT freshman shines
All week long, all you heard about was 6-11 Mo Bamba, who is slated to be a lottery pick in the next NBA draft.
Bamba scored 13 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, but it was freshman point guard Matt Coleman and Kerwin Roach who caused Nevada the most problems. Roach scored 26 and Coleman 25.
Fifteen of Coleman’s points came in the second half and overtime. Nevada defenders had a tough time staying in front of him, and he made them pay when they sagged off.
“He played a great game,” Musselman said. “Obviously, if you look at his 3-point shooting over the course of the year, it’s a lower percent. We wanted him to take shots. And sometimes when you make a coaching decision, it can backfire. And he played extremely well.
“We kind of stuck with the philosophy of how we started the game. We didn’t alter it. We thought that over 40 minutes, if we could just try to keep him out of the lane, you know, the more film we watched over and over and over, he’s so great at getting in the lane and throwing lob passes to Jericho Sims or Bamba. We didn’t want that to happen and we kind of lived with the 3-ball.”
By the numbers
Nevada is the first Mountain West team to advance to the round of 32 since the 2015 San Diego State squad … Stephens’ five 3-pointers got him within one of tying Jimmer Fredette’s MW record of 124 set during the 2010-11 season. He has 123 which broke his own record set earlier this year. Stephens’ five 3s is a Nevada record in the NCAAs as is his 11 attempts … Cody Martin had four blocks which is a Nevada NCAA mark … Caleb Martin notched his second double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds … The 28 wins is tied for second most in a season with the 1945-46, 2011-12 and 2016-17 teams. The school record is 29 by the 2006-07 team.