Wolf Pack hosts Stanislaus State tonight | NevadaAppeal.com

Wolf Pack hosts Stanislaus State tonight

Wolf Pack hosts Stanislaus State tonight


Appeal Sports Writer

RENO – Stanislaus State will be walking into the lion’s den when it takes on Nevada in a men’s non-conference basketball game at 3:05 p.m., today at Lawlor Events Center.

This is Nevada’s final non-conference game before starting the Western Athletic Conference season at home on Jan. 5 against Utah State.

“We’re trying to get better,” Nevada coach Mark Fox. “We’re disappointed. We’re trying to move forward. Oh, we’re not (looking ahead). It’s not a problem at all. League games are sneaking up on us, but we still have this game to play.”

The Pack faces a Division II Warriors team that has gotten off to a shaky 2-6 start and is on a three-game losing streak. Nevada, 7-5, had its five-game winning streak snapped Friday by top-ranked North Carolina, 106-70.

Nevada will be the second Division I team that Stanislaus has played this year. The Warriors played Santa Clara in an exhibition game and won 69-68.

“They are looking forward to being able to go against them,” Stanislaus coach Keith Larsen said. “The kids enjoy it. They bring a lot of energy and play hard. If we’re good enough that’s great. If not, at least I want them to be competitive.

“We’ve had some great moments. We haven’t been shooting it well. We need to make our outside shots to get our offense going.”

The Warriors depend on 6-foot-4 guard Heath Colvin (16.3 points per game), 6-4 wing Calvin Westbrook (13.1) and 5-9 guard Duane Jones (10.1) for much of their scoring. It’s not certain whether Rick Cardoso, who also averages in double figures, will play or not.

“They play fast,” Fox said. “They shoot the three; they shoot the ball well. They are a solid team.”

Solid, however, won’t make up for the fact that the Warriors give away plenty up front to the Pack in 7-1 JaVale McGee, 6-9 Demarshay Johnson and 6-8 Matt LaGrone. The Warriors go 6-8, 6-6 and 6-4 up front.

“McGee is so active on the floor,” Larsen said. “He’s got great footwork. We don’t have anybody that big up front. We just have to hope the big guys miss some shots. Obviously they are much longer. We’re not a real big team.”

Larsen was also impressed with Nevada freshman Armon Johnson, who is coming off a career-best 23 against North Carolina.

Marcelus Kemp enters the game averaging more than 19 a game, while McGee is averaging 13 a contest. Brandon Fields averages 11.9 and Armon Johnson 10.8.

Local fans also will get a look at former Reno High star Terry Johnson, who is the son of former Pack coach, Trent Johnson. Terry Johnson, who played at Moorpark College for two years, is averaging 4.5 points per game.

“He’s played OK,” said Larsen. “He’s not a scorer. He’s real solid. He’s probably our best interior defender. He’s a great teammate. He makes people around him better. We haven’t found his offensive niche yet.”

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