Nevada will host Pacific | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada will host Pacific

DARRELL MOODY
Appeal Sports Writer

RENO – The status of Ramon Sessions for tonight’s non-conference game against Pacific (7:05 p.m., Lawlor Events Center) may come down to a game-decision by Nevada basketball coach Mark Fox.

Sessions is suffering from a thigh contusion, and as of yesterday, had not been cleared for full practice by the Nevada training staff, according to Fox. It’s the same injury that sidelined ex-Nevada star Kevinn Pinkney nearly half the season back in the 2002-2003 campaign. Sessions did do some shooting on Friday.

“Most definitely,” Fox said when asked if he and the 21st-ranked Pack were preparing to play without Sessions. “We’re prepared to play both ways – with or without him. We are experienced in the backcourt.

“We can play Marcelus at the 2 (shooting guard). We can play lots of ways. I don’t think we’d change that much. Lyndale (Burleson) is in his third year in the program and has played a lot for us.”

Burleson, who is averaging 2.1 points and 3.3 assists per game, scored three points and dished out three assists in his 14-minute stint against Saint Mary’s College.

If Sessions can’t go, and Fox doesn’t sound like he’s counting on it, that would mean extended minutes for 6-3 freshman guard Brandon Fields, who scored six points in a season-best 19 minuts against Saint Mary’s College earlier this week.

“He (Fields) played more efficiently than he has in other games,” Fox said. “It (Saint Mary’s) was a game that he didn’t have to do a lot defensively because we were in a zone.”

Another guy who may be asked to do more tonight would be 6-7 forward Denis Ikovlev, who is coming off career bests of 10 points and eight rebounds against SMC. He is currently averaging 6.2 points and 4.6 rebounds.

“He’s getting more and more confident the more comfortable he gets,” Fox said. “Denis has done a lot of little things. There are not a lot of extra shots to go around, but he’s been patient. He does a lot of the dirty work.”

At first glance, it would seem that playing without Sessions wouldn’t be a big deal against the 3-7 Tigers. That would be a huge mistake says Fox.

“Pacific is well coached,” Fox said. “They are better than their record. (Steffan) Johnson is an excellent guard and (Anthony) Brown has been productive up front.”

Johnson is avearging 11.6 a game, but injured his back against Saint Louis earlier this week. Brown leads the Tigers in scoring and rebounding at 16.2 and 7.6, respectively.

The game also features two sets of former high school teammates facing off.

Pacific’s Brown played with Nevada’s David Ellis at Capital Christian High School in Sacramento Calif., and Nevada’s Kyle Shiloh played against Pacific’s Anthony Esparza at Garces Memorial High in Bakersfield, Calif.

Notes: Pacific is 0-3 in road games this season, and is on a four-game losing streak after losing to No. 8 Texas A & M, Sacramento State, Santa Clara and Saint Louis … Nevada has held its last two opponents to 58 points, the second-lowest totals by a Wolf Pack opponent this year. Nevada had given up 74.4 the prior three games … After the Pacific game, the team will go on the road to play Akron in a return of the BracketBuster game of last year.

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

UOP (3-7) at NEVADA (8-1)

When: Tonight, 7:05 p.m.

Where: Lawlor Events Center

TV: http://www.wactv.com (pay-per-view)

Radio: ESPN 630 AM, pre-game at 6:30 p.m.

Probable starters: UOP – F Anthony Brown (16.2, 7.6); C Casey Neimeyer (2.3, 1.0); G C.J. Morgan (11.1, 1.9), Steffan Johnson (11.6, 2.2), Reggie Vezia (2.9, 1.5); NEVADA – F Nick Fazekas (21.4, 13.1), Dennis Ikovlev (6.2, 4.6); G Marcelus Kemp (17.9, 3.6), Kyle Shiloh (8.6, 2.4) and Ramon Sessions (12.2, 3.6) or Lyndale Burleson (2.1, 0.9)