Nevada Wolf Pack Notebook: Caroline plays after grandfather’s death
Nevada Wolf Pack ‘rolling’ after win against Illinois State
RENO — It was a tough week for Nevada forward Jordan Caroline.
Caroline didn’t start for the first time this season. He missed two days of practice to return to the Midwest to be with his family after his grandfather, former NFL star J.C. Caroline, passed away on Nov. 17.
Caroline, who played against Pacific, Davidson and Hawaii before leaving the team, scored 20 points and grabbed five rebounds in the Pack’s easy 98-68 win over Illinois State.
“It was the hardest decision I’ve had to make,” Nevada coach Eric Musselman said. “It was an emotional time for him. His grandfather raised him. I told him to spend time with his family and take as much time as he needed.
“He played with the same effort and emotion as he always does. We brought him off the bench, and that’s not going to happen again.”
Caroline said his teammates were very helpful during the process.
“It’s been tough (the last three days),” Caroline said. “Teammates have been there for me. He has always been my hero, and he still is.”
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
The Pack will take to the road again on Friday. Nevada visits UC Irvine on Saturday (7 p.m.) and then tackles No. 22 Texas Tech in Lubbock (ESPNU, 5 p.m.). Nevada beat UC Irvine, 76-69, last year in Reno. The last time Nevada played Texas Tech was March 19, 2003 in the NIT, losing 66-54.
The Pack is 3-0 this year on the road and has won 11 of its last 15 true road games under Musselman. The Pack was 5-10 on the road in Musselman’s first season.
Unlike the Bay Area trip where the Pack stayed out the whole time, Musselman said the team will come back Sunday morning, attend class on Monday morning and then fly to Lubbock.
Musselman said the trip was discussed with his bosses, athletic director Doug Knuth and Rory Hickok, associate athletic director.
“We are doing what is best for the student-athlete,” Musselman said.
BY THE NUMBERS
Caleb Martin has scored 21 or more points in the last three games and five times this season … Caroline finished with 20 points marking his third 20-point game of the season … Caroline and Cody Martin have reached double figures in scoring in all seven games … Nevada is 7-0 when leading at halftime … This is just the Pack’s fourth game against a Missouri Valley team under Musselman’s guidance. Nevada was 2-1 entering the game. Outside the Mountain West, Musselman is 6-1 against the West Coast Conference, 5-0 against the Big Sky and 3-0 against the Atlantic 10 … Of the 18 stat categories in the MW, Nevada leads in three (assist-turnover ratio, assists per game and 3-point FG percentage). The Pack is only worse than fourth in one category (defensive rebounds per game).