Story and Photos by Mike Smyth
Desmond Cambridge Jr. and Grant Sherfield combined for 53 points while shooting 63% from the field–including a tidy 8-of-12 from beyond the arc–Wednesday night at Lawlor Events Center, sending the visiting Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs to their first loss 98-62.
The Wolf Pack (5-4, 0-0 MW) played with head coach Steve Alford back on the sidelines after missing Nevada’s last home contest on Nov. 30 with COVID-19. It was also the Pack’s first action on the hardwood in 15 days, with the scheduled two-game road trip to North Texas and UT Arlington cancelled earlier this month due to COVID protocols.
The Division II Bulldogs (11-1) entered the game with a perfect 11-0 record while shooting an efficient 53.4% from the field.
Nevada displayed some rust from the long layoff, turning the ball over 12 times in the first half, resulting in a 40-32 advantage in shots attempted. However, the step up in class proved tougher to convert on the extra opportunities. Despite some back door defense lapses, Minnesota Duluth still converted just 33% of the time.
Cambridge Jr.’s five points in the last minute of the half pushed Nevada to a double-digit cushion at the break 47-35.
Nevada simply cranked up the intensity while dishing out more of the same and cruised to a 51-27 advantage in the second half of play.
The Wolf Pack had a chance to show off their depth a bit as junior guard Kenan Blackshear saw 31 minutes of action in a starting role while chipping in 13 points, 11 rebounds (career high) and a pair of steals.
Guard Daniel Foster played 23 minutes, and freshman guard Jalen Weaver added five points in 16 minutes. Weaver’s two made field goals were the first of his career.
Next up for the Wolf Pack: Loyola Marymount at Lawlor Events Center, Saturday at 8 p.m.
- Junior guard Grant Sherfield came tantalizingly close to achieving Nevada’s first triple-double in over 42 years but failed to convert an assist in the last three minutes of action. Sherfield finished with a 28-12-9 line.
- Cambridge Jr. set season highs with 26 points and six made threes.
- The Wolf Pack is 4-0 this season when holding an opponent to under 70 points. Nevada has held each of its past four opponents under the 70-point mark.
- Nevada controlled the glass with 56 rebounds to the Bulldogs’ 29.
- Nevada has had at least 40 boards four times this season.
- The Wolf Pack shot 18-24 from the charity stripe will holding Minnesota Duluth to only 2 of 6 attempts.