Nevada to take on UC Davis
Fresh off its most complete game of the season, the Nevada Wolf Pack seek to extend their winning streak to three straight tonight when they visit UC Davis.
Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
Nevada easily won last year’s game 84-62 at Lawlor Events Center, but the Aggies, 4-5, are a much better team this year according to Mark Fox, Nevada’s first-year head coach.
“They are better offensively,” Fox said. “Trent (Johnson, ex-Nevada coach) played them the other day and he thought they were much improved. They pretty much have the same guys back. They are more accustomed to this level of play. They are better than both of the teams we played last weekend.”
The Aggies have four guys – 6-6 Phil Rasmussen (8.0), 5-10 Rommel Marentez (13.6), 6-5 Ryan Moore (15.1) and 6-2 Fowzi Abdelsamad (16.1) – who are capable of shooting the three ball. Abdelsamad is shooting it at a 47.8 clip, Moore 38.7, Marentez 50.0 and Rasmussen (36.8).
With that in mind, it’s unlikely the Wolf Pack would play too much zone defense against the smaller Aggies, whose tallest starters are the 6-5 Moore and the 6-6 Rasmussen.
“It depends on the situation,” Fox said. “It’s not something I ever want to do to be honest, especially if the team has three-point shooters. In a zone, you don’t force turnovers. It’s harder to rebound in a zone.”
Fox is counting on another good all-around game from his team which is 6-3 entering its final non conference game. Nevada held Eastern Illinois to a 31 percent effort from the floor, using both a man-to-man and zone defense while shooting a little over 50 percent.
“We have to be able to play both ends of the floor like we did the other night,” Fox said. “That’s the first time we’ve done that all year.”
Fox said he’s uncertain if 7-foot freshman David Ellis will stay in the starting lineup in place of Jermaine Washington or not.
Ellis, who prepped at Sacramento’s Capital Christian High School will no doubt have his own cheering section tonight. Ellis averaged 5 points, 5 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots a game in the Dodge Holiday Classic.
“I’m leaning toward staying the same,” Fox said. “It depends on how we look tonight (Tuesday’s practice in Davis).
“I thought he did fine. He just has to get stronger. He can run and shoot the ball well and he has good hands so he can grab rebounds and not just tip the ball. I’m pleased with him.”
Washington has played well coming off the bench. Against Eastern Illinois, he scored 10 points, blocked four shots and played with a lot more energy than he has at any time this season.
Mo Charlo also is coming off a career-high 17-point effort against Eastern Illinois. Charlo, the 6-7 JC transfer from Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, Calif., knocked down each of his three-point attempts and all eight of his foul shots in just 10 minutes of action.
It could be a big night for Nick Fazekas and Kevinn Pinkney, Nevada’s top inside players. For the second straight game, the Wolf Pack will have a huge height advantage which means the Nevada duo shouldn’t have many problems getting off shots cleanly.
Notes: Fox, who played all nine of his scholarship players at least 17 minutes against Eastern Illinois, said minutes will be given out depending on the situation. Fox said that reserve center Chad Bell is starting to come around as is Seth Taylor… After the Davis game, the players will be off until the day after Christmas when preparations for the conference opener against San Jose State (Dec. 30) will start.
Contact Darrell Moody at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1281.
Nevada (6-3) at UC Davis (4-5)
When: Tonight, 7 p.m.
Where: UC Davis Pavilion
Radio: ESPN Radio 630 AM. Pre-game starts at 6:30 p.m.
Coaches: Mark Fox (Nevada) and Gary Stewart (UC Davis)
Probable starters: Nevada – G Ramon Sessions and Kyle Shiloh; C David Ellis; F Kevinn Pinkney and Nick Fazekas. UC Davis – F Ryan Moore, Carlyle JaQay and Phil Rasmussen; G Fowzi Abdelsamad and Rommel Marentez.