Nevada rolls past UC Davis
December 7, 2005
RENO – Nevada made its first home appearance in 18 days, and the Wolf Pack treated their fans to a dominating performance.
The 17th-ranked Wolf Pack scored the game’s first 10 points and rolled to an easy 78-51 win over UC Davis before a crowd of 9,852 at Lawlor Events Center.
Nevada, 6-0, returns to action Saturday at 2:30 against UCLA in the nightcap of the Wooden Classic at the Arrowhead Pond.
“I was really concerned about our team coming in,” Nevada coach Mark Fox said. “We were very lethargic the last two days of practice. The trip (four games in 10 days and over 10,000 miles of air travel) caught up to us. I sent the kids home halfway through practice. They were mentally exhausted.
“Fortunately for us, our defense put us in position to make shots and get an early double-figure lead.”
And, save for a little second-half run, the Aggies folded up against the heavily favored Pack.
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“From the opening tip, it was complete domination, on both sides of the ball,” UC Davis coach Gary Stewart said. “They’re a darn good basketball team. They did anything they wanted to do.
“If they wanted to take perimeter shots they did. If they wanted to get it inside they did. I didn’t expect this. We reverted back to Day 1. We’re not consistent in our effort. If we’re not consistent, we’ll get exposed. It’s something that has to get solved.”
Neither team scored for nearly three minutes, but Nevada broke loose for 10 straight points, six by Mo Charlo, who finished with 12 points. It was his sixth straight double-figure game.
Then it was Marcelus Kemp’s turn. The 6-5 sophomore guard rifled in two nice 3-pointers to extend the lead to 16-5, and Charlo converted a nifty three-point play to make it 19-5.
“I hit a couple of shots and I got in a comfort zone,” said Kemp, who was 6 for 8 from the floor en route to a 15-point night. “I made a couple of passes and made some plays.”
The lead stayed between 12 and 15 points until a trey by Denis Ikovlev, a free throw by Charlo and a layup by David Ellis off a bullet pass by Chad Bell made it 40-23 with 2:03 left in the half. The 40-point half was a season-best for Nevada.
Nevada shot 53.6 from the field, and all 11 players that suited up, played in the opening 20 minutes. Nevada held Davis to 32.1 percent from the floor, had 12 assists, hit 50 percent of its 3-point shots and committed only two turnovers in the first 20 minutes. It appeared to be one of the cleanest halves of the season.
“We wanted to come out and play strong,” Charlo said. “We wanted to give the crowd a little excitement.”
“Except for being outrebounded 21-17, Fox didn’t find much fault with the performance.
“We didn’t play as well as we did the first half against Kansas,” the Nevada coach said. “We held the lead and the defense was solid. The first half wasn’t as good as the numbers presented.”
The Aggies made some noise at the outset of the second half, trimming the lead to 41-31 thanks to two free throws by Rommel Marentez (10 points), a 3-pointer by Jesse Lopez Low and a layup by Phil Rasmussen (10 points).
That surge seemed to wake the slumbering Pack, who ripped off 10 straight over the next four-plus minutes to extend the lead to 51-31 with 13:30 left in the game.
Nick Fazekas, who only got up five shots in the first half and ended the game with 10 points, started the surge with a layup. After an Aggie turnover, he threw down a left-handed flip shot to make it 45-31.
Then came one of the most explosive plays of the game. Kyle Shiloh threw an alley-oop pass to Demarshay Johnson. The pass turned out to be more of a line drive, but Johnson (career-high 10 points) managed to ram it home for a 47-31 lead.
“We run that in practice everyday,” Johnson said. “It was good enough (of a pass) for me to get the ball down.”
Fazekas scored on a putback after Johnson missed a free throw and Denis Ikovlev (8 points) finished the surge with a layup.
Fox was pleased that the rest of the team was able to pick up Fazekas.
“That was one thing we really tried to address in the offseason,” Fox said. “We tried to get more scoring around Nick so he wouldn’t have to carry the load. Physically that’s hard to do. Our depth has helped him.”
The teams played on even terms over the next six minutes, and then Nevada took over at both ends of the floor. The Pack went on an 18-0 run over a five-minute span to make it 77-41.
Kemp scored seven straight to start the barrage, and Seth Taylor, who played a season-best 11 minutes, scored five points.
Nevada shot even better in the second half, connecting on 13 of 20 shots from the field.
The Aggies gave some praise to the Pack, but intimated that this wasn’t the real Aggie team that took the floor.
“We weren’t UC Davis,” Lopez Low said. “We didn’t play the way we should have. They executed real well.”
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