Story and Photos by Mike Smyth
The Nevada Wolf Pack suffered their first loss of the season, dropping a 75-68 decision to the visiting San Diego Toreros Friday at Lawlor Events Center in a non-conference tilt.
The Pack was down 48-32 at the break, which included a technical foul on a visibly frustrated Nevada head coach Steve Alford. The frustration likely stemmed from the fact that his team was simply outworked by a determined San Diego squad.
“I have to give them credit, they came out very physical on us,” said Alford. “Their age, they’ve got six seniors, and their physical play hurt us.”
Torero senior guard Jase Townsend paced San Diego (2-0) in the opening half with 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting, a perfect 4-4 from the line, and quickness the Pack never seemed to adjust to. He would finish with 18 points.
The Toreros shot 58% in the half while the Pack (1-1, 0-0 MW) went 13-of-30 from the field for a meager 43%.
Not helping matters any was the Nevada back court of Grant Sherfield and Desmond Cambridge, Jr. combining for five first half turnovers and three personal fouls.
Whatever Alford said in the locker room seemed to work, as the Wolf Pack stormed back with a 15-0 run to close the gap to 48-47. The wide-open looks the Toreros had enjoyed disappeared, and Nevada’s pressure resulted in some easy baskets off turnover as the visitors failed to register a point in the first 6:20 of the second stanza.
The Lawlor crowd, larger than that of Tuesday’s opener, was in full throat as Nevada climbed back into the game.
Junior forward Warren Washington was the centerpiece of the second half surge. Washington would finish 9-for-14, good for 18 points, while adding 10 rebounds and a pair of blocked shots.
Sophomore Tre Coleman added 10 points, while center Will Baker chipped in 12.
But despite their best efforts, the closest Nevada would come would be 51-51 with 12:12 remaining. The Toreros gathered themselves and went on a 9-2 run, including a 3-point play from Townsend and a bucket from Marcellus Earlington to resume control at 60-53 with 8:54 left.
San Diego’s physical style was a factor all night, as they scored 40 of their 75 points inside.
“They had what, 40 points in the paint? That’s insane,” said head coach Steve Alford.
Nevada threatened late, moving within four at 70-66 with 1:32 to play and Grant Sherfield at the line. Sherfield however missed the crucial front end of the 1-and-1, allowing San Diego to continue grinding the clock until Nevada was forced to start fouling.
“We have a huge five-game road trip coming up and start with two really tough games. We have some new pieces, and we have to come together out on the road,” said Alford
Next up for the Wolf Pack: Santa Clara, Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Santa Clara.
- Nevada’s AJ Bramah, fresh off an impressive start in the opening win vs. Eastern Washington, was a late afternoon scratch and is in concussion protocol. No further details were available.
- 6-10 junior KJ Hymes missed his second straight game due to injury.
- Starting guards Grant Sherfield and Desmond Cambridge, Jr. had a particularly rough night going 5-for-24 (21%) from the field, including 1-for-9 from distance and turning the ball over seven times.
- Nevada as a team shot 47% from the field and just 27% from outside the arc.
Nevada signs top prospect from Illinois
Nevada head coach Steve Alford announced Friday the signing of guard Trey Pettigrew (Chicago, Ill. / Kenwood Academy) to a National Letter of Intent.
Pettigrew is a three-star recruit (247Sports and Rivals), and among the top five prospects in Illinois among this year’s senior class, according to The Hoops Report.
Pettigrew, a 6-foot-3, 175-pound combo guard, played his first two prep seasons at Fenwick High School in Oak Park, Illinois, before transferring to Eduprize High School in Gilbert, Arizona, for his junior season. He returned to Illinois this summer and is playing his final season at Kenwood Academy.
“Trey is a very athletic point guard that can play multiple positions in our backcourt,” Alford said. “He’s a highly-ranked Chicago player that brings a lot to our program on and off the floor. We are very excited having Trey join our Pack Family.”