Nevada Wolf Pack hopes to keep up the pace at Colorado State | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada Wolf Pack hopes to keep up the pace at Colorado State

Darrell Moody
dmoody@nevadaappeal.com
Colorado State guard Anthony Bonner drives the ball around Wyoming guard Nyaires Redding during an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018, in Fort Collins, Colo. (Austin Humphreys/The Coloradoan via AP)
AP | The Coloradoan

NEVADA (19-4, 8-1) AT COLORADO STATE (10-13, 3-8)

When: Today, 5 p.m.

Where: Moby Arena

TV-Radio: ESPNU; 630 AM

Coaches: Nevada’s Eric Musselman (71-25) is in his 3rd season; CSU’s Larry Eustachy (121-74; 533-332) is in his 6th season at CSU and 27th overall as a head coach

Projected starters:

NEVADA - F Jordan Caroline (17.2, 8.9) and Caleb Martin (19.6, 5.3); G Kendall Stephens (12.5, 1.9), Cody Martin (13.9, 6.3) and Josh Hall (6.4, 3.5) or Lindsey Drew (7.4, 3.5); COLORADO STATE - F Che Bob (10.0, 6.8) and Nico Carvacho (8.3, 9.7); G Deion James (10.3, 5.2), Anthony Bonner (7.5, 2.8) and Raquan Mitchell (6.2, 3.1) or Prentiss Nixon (17.9, 3.2).

News & Notes:

Caleb and Cody Martin account for 39.3 percent of Nevada’s points … Lindsey Drew has had three seasons of more than 100 assists … Nevada is seeking its third straight 20-win season under Musselman. Nevada has won 20 or more games in 10 of the last 14 seasons … Caleb Martin eclipsed the 1,000-point plateau last game. Kendall Stephens is 14 points away from reaching 1,000. Caroline, who actually has 1,223 in his career, is 80 points away from the 1,000 mark at Nevada … The Pack is at 14 RPI with a strength of schedule of 42.

Nevada coach Eric Musselman pointed to tempo as a key to posting back-to-back 100-point games.

And, he wants to see the up-tempo offense continue when the Wolf Pack (19-4, 8-1) visits Colorado State (10-13, 3-8) on Saturday at 5 p.m. (ESPNU, 630 AM).

Musselman would like nothing more than to see the ball possession he saw against Fresno State. Nevada didn’t turn the ball over the last 27-plus minutes of the game, and had just five turnovers for the game. Great stats when you consider the pace Nevada played at.

“That is one thing we talked (about) prior to the game (against Fresno State),” Musselman said after the win against the Bulldogs. “We weren’t doing advance passes. We want to play with more pace. It’s been better the last two games. We have a lot of athletic guys that can get out and finish. There is no reason to walk the ball up the floor. I thought we moved better without the ball.

“We talked about valuing the ball. I feel a bad shot is better than a turnover. We have multiple point guards. I feel like we have a lot of guys that play that position and can be ballhandlers.”

That group includes natural point guards like Lindsey Drew, Hallice Cooke and Cody Martin, and Josh Hall is a point forward, who played the point a few times last season. Musselman has confidence in Jordan Caroline bringing up the ball in transition.

Caleb Martin said Musselman has been stressing up tempo the entire season.

“Sometimes we’re hard headed,” said the 6-7 junior transfer. “Coach tells us all the time to play faster. I think we don’t want to push it and make a turnover.

“Coach stressed all week (to play faster). Pressure the defense and see if they slip up. We want to play like this the rest of the year. We have so many guys that can catch it on the wing and make a play.”

Ball distribution is something Nevada has worked on recently, especially last week when the Pack had several days off.

“We want to share it with everybody,” Cody Martin said. “Once everybody touches the ball, they feel like they’re a part of what’s going on.”

•••

Josh Hall had his second coming-out party of the season, scoring 19 points and pulling down a team-best seven rebounds.

Hall had 25 against UOP and 17 against Davidson early in the season, and hit a bunch of 3-pointers in those two games. Over the next five games, he went 5-for-24 from the field, including 0-for-8 from beyond the 3-point arc.

After the Davidson game, Hall went 13 of the next 14 games without a 3-pointer before the Fresno State game. He said he didn’t lose confidence, but it was evident he wasn’t looking for the 3-pointer as much after the two good early games.

According to Musselman, his practice habits kept him in the rotation.

“We’ve tried to be really patient with Josh and continue to build his confidence,” Musselman said. “He practices well, and the reason he stayed in the rotation is because of the way he practices.”

“When he plays like that off the bench or when he starts, he gives us a lift,” Cody Martin said. “He’s a key player for us. He is one of those guys we need. Sometimes he gets down on himself. We trust him 100 percent.”