Nevada headed into their first road game 1-1 and they came up short against Santa Clara losing 96-74. The Wolf Pack had won their last five matchups against the Santa Clara Broncos leading into Tuesday’s game.
There was no doubt that Nevada brought their three point shooting with them on the road but forgot their defense. Nevada head coach Steve Alford shared his thoughts on their shooting and lack of defense during the game which caused them the loss.
“You come on the road and you score 74 points. You make 13 threes,” said Alford. “If you just guard you goin’ give yourself a chance. We didn’t guard and we had no chance of winning.”
Junior guard Grant Sherfield led the team with 23 points on an efficient 9-18 shooting. Sherfield, a man of many talents, did not only score as he facilitated for Nevada adding a team high six assists. He rounded out his great game with three rebounds and 4-7 shooting from the three point line. Nevada’s other guard in the backcourt, senior Desmond Cambridge JR., finished with 18 points on 6-14 shooting from the field. He shot a solid 4-9 from behind the arc and added two assists and four rebounds. Those were the only good performances from the starting five as Nevada’s frontcourt shot a combined lowly 4-14 on field goals.
However, the Wolf Pack did get some juice off the bench as sophomore forward Deandre Henry went 3-4 with a three pointer for seven points. Senior guard AJ Bramah had 11 points off the bench on an inefficient 3-12 from the field. Bramah did have a team leading six rebounds along with junior guard Kenan Blackshear.
Nevada started the game off hot jumping out to a 9-0 lead in the first two minutes. The Wolf Pack started 3-4 from the three point line with buckets from Sherfield, junior center Will Baker, and Cambridge JR. Santa Clara responded making it a one point game 9-8 with 16 minutes left in the first half. There were a couple lead changes for the rest of the first half but the game was locked with no lead exceeding five points. Both teams had no problem scoring in the first half but Nevada could not muster up stops to widen their lead. The Wolf Pack took a 42-39 lead into halftime. Nevada shot 40 percent on 15-37 shooting from the field in the first. Their impressive offense can also be seen in how they shot a great 43 percent on 7-16 from three and a perfect 5-5 from the free throw line.
Santa Clara came out strong in the second half when they got out to a 50-44 lead. Nevada responded with threes from Blackshear and Sherfield to tie the game 50-50 with 13 minutes left in the half. The game remained close until ten minutes left in the second half when the Nevada offense began to go cold. The lack of scoring combined with an inability to create stops led to Santa Clara drastically growing their lead. Nevada was only able to score ten points in five minutes and they were now losing 82-67 with five minutes left. The Wolf Pack would give a glimmer of hope for a comeback bringing the game to within 12 points twice, but they were then held scoreless for the last two minutes and 43 seconds. They did keep their great three point shooting going into the second as they went 50 percent on 6-12 shots. The Wolf Pack’s terrible night of scoring in the paint and Santa Clara shooting 58 percent from the field and 15 free throws in the second half was the nail in the coffin. Nevada lost to Santa Clara 96-74.
Nevada has already suffered back to back losses early in this season. Although the defense is not where it needs to be right now, the Wolf Pack has shown as a team they can score and knockdown threes. Nevada looks to bounce back against the University of San Francisco on Nov. 18.
Anthony Miranda can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush