Nevada's Big Men Too Much for Tech
Jan. 26, 2008
RUSTON, La. - Despite trailing for most of the first half, Nevada put its size advantage to good use after halftime to run away from Louisiana Tech and leave the Thomas Assembly Center with a 83-70 win on Saturday night.
Louisiana Tech (3-15, 0-6 WAC) held a slim lead for much of the first half, but a hot-shooting Nevada club (12-7, 4-2 WAC), led by their two seven-footers in JaVale McGee and David Ellis, pulled away in the second half.
"They wore us down with size and length tonight," Tech head coach Kerry Rupp said. "I thought our game plan we came out with early was good. Offensively to start the game we played good and got some good spacing. It ultimately was their length that slowed us down, and these are things we need to continue to work on."
As expected, the Wolf Pack also won the rebounding battle by a 37-25 margin, but at 61.2-percent shooting, the Bulldogs didn't exactly have a chance to pull down many Nevada misses. The Wolf Pack's nine offensive boards led to 14 second-chance points, and the visitors totaled a whopping 40 points in the paint, nearly half of their total offensive output.
The teams combined for 64 free throw attempts as a total of 47 fouls were called in the contest. Both teams took care of business at the free throw line as Tech made 28 of 35 attempts - both season highs - for 80 percent, and the Wolf Pack knocked down 20 of 29 attempts for 69 percent.
"I think the energy and intensity we're bringing at times is good," Rupp said. "We don't have a lot of depth and fatigue sets in. We have to secure the basketball better and rebound better. But again, I want those kids to battle and play hard for every possession. We have to work through these tough times. I was proud of their fight tonight. At the end of the day, we just have to keep working hard."
Tech also matched a season-low with only seven turnovers on the night.
The Bulldogs held their biggest lead at 18-14 with 11:48 to play in the first half. A 6-1 run by the Wolf Pack would give them their first lead since the very early stages of the game, and the teams would trade baskets over the next several minutes. But a layup by Nevada's Ray Kraemer would ignite a 17-8 run to end the half as the Wolf Pack took a 42-31 lead to the break.
In the second half, Nevada came out firing on all cylinders, hitting six shots in a row to extend its lead to 19 points. Tech would reduce that to as few as 13, but the Wolf Pack kept firing as they shot 64 percent in the second stanza. The Bulldogs pulled as close as 11 points in the closing minutes before settling for a 13-point final margin.
"When they got in their offense with their big guys, they were very successful," Rupp said. "They did a good job of moving the ball around. If you let a good team run their stuff, it will hurt you. First half we came out of the gate really well. We tried to stretch their zone, and they did a good job of changing things up."
For the second straight game, Kyle Gibson led all scorers with 18 points as he knocked down 10 of 12 free throw attempts. Jonathan "J.C." Clark added 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting, and Drew Washington pitched in 11. All nine Bulldogs on the active roster scored in the contest.
Nevada was led by 7-1 David Ellis, who was a perfect 7-for-7 from the field for 14 points. JaVale McGee - another 7-footer - and Armon Johnson dropped 12 apiece, and Marcelus Kemp added 11.
The Bulldogs hit the road once again next weekend as they make the long trek to Hawai'i for a Saturday contest at the Stan Sheriff Center. Tip-off is set for 11 p.m. central time, and the broadcast can be heard on KXKZ 107.5 FM or online at www.z1075fm.com.
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