Wolf Pack can’t look past San Jose
SAN JOSE — Nevada’s six road wins this year is one of the top marks among Division 1 teams.
The Wolf Pack (15-3, 5-0) hopes to make it seven when it visits the San Jose Spartans (3-14, 0-6) today at The Event Center. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.
“I think guys feel comfortable on the road,” Nevada coach Eric Musselman said. “We feel confident. It’s hard to win on the road. It is all about focus and preparation.
“We didn’t play well for stretches against Air Force. Every game creates its own challenge.”
No doubt the challenge will be to not overlook the Spartans, who are winless in conference play. Nevada has won five straight against SJSU and 17 of the last 18. Considering Boise State is coming to town on Saturday, it will be hard not to think about the game ahead.
And, another challenge is the game will likely be played in a near-empty gym. It’s rare when the 5,000-set gym is even half full. Nevada knows it will have to create its own energy, and sometimes that can be hard to do.
“Coach (Musselman) approaches these games the same way,” junior wing player Kendall Stephens said. “He goes through each team’s strength and weaknesses. He lays out a blueprint of what to expect. We prepare better than any team in the country. Road is the same as home (in terms of preparation).”
Nevada’s start against Utah State was one of its best of the season, and it was keyed by a great defensive effort.
“We have to carry over that defensive mentality (to San Jose State),” said Caleb Martin. “It will be a tough game to play because they’ll be ready. It doesn’t matter what their record is, we’ll treat them like anybody else.”
It has been a rough first year for Jean Prioleau and the Spartans, who have played three solid conference games and been blown out three times. A definite case of feast or famine.
Prioleau got a little testy in his post-game press conference after the loss to Air Force. He keeps insisting it’s about staying the course.
“Defend and rebound. My message hasn’t changed,” Prioleau said. “Sometimes it takes a lot of time for the same statement to sink in. You have to trust the process. I think guys are trusting the process. You can say you’re 0-6. We had 15 assists and nine turnovers. That (nine turnovers) is a lot better than the 20 we had.
“I think they are more comfotable what they are looking for and (what) dangerous passes to stay away from. Nevada is at the top of the league. We’ll see if we can take care of the ball against them.”
Like Musselman, Prioleau isn’t happy with his team’s offensive rebounding. The Pack gave up 19 against Utah State. The Spartans gave up 14 to Air Force.
“They pursued the ball,” Prioleau said. “Most of the time the shot goes up and most teams look at the rim. After the ball came off the rim, they were tracking the ball down. That was the difference.”
NOTES: The status of Cody Martin is still up in the air. He suffered an apparent achilles injury against Utah State. Musselman said after the Utah State game he expected Martin might miss a game or two, but the school hasn’t provided an update on his condition …Nevada is 5-0 in MW play for the first time since joining the league for the 2012-13 season…Nevada has won 14 straight against MW opponents when you include the three wins at the MW Tournament last year …Kendall Stephens has made four or more 3s in 10 of his last 13 games …Nevada’s RPI sits at 17 with a strength of schedule at 50, and an opponents’ strength of schedule at 69 … In nine games this year, Nevada has had two 20-point scorer.