Nevada took advantage of a vast difference at the foul line and beat Cedarville 71-61.
The majority of the 3,376 fans in attendance for the Nevada men’s basketball game at Lawlor Events Center Wednesday night probably had never heard of Cedarville before. Some probably thought Cedarville sounded more like a high school.
The Wolf Pack made the Division II Christian college look somewhat like a high school team for the first five minutes, but then the Yellow Jackets began swarming.
After Nevada took a 15-4 lead on a Malik Story 3-pointer, Cedarville turned to the long-range barrage to climb back in the game and stun the Silver and Blue faithful.
The Ohio school made six of its first nine shots from behind the arc and back-to-back treys by Brian Hecker and Dan Hickman pushed Cedarville’s lead to a game-high nine-point margin, 36-27. But the Yellow Jackets didn’t score again in the first half.
Nevada closed out the first half on an 11-0 run, capped by an Olek Czyz slam, handing the home team a 38-36 halftime edge.
Cedarville shot lights out in the first half, knocking down 15 of 27 shots.
Malik Story was the main reason the Wolf Pack survived the Yellow Jackets’ hot shooting. Story was 5-of-7 from three-point land and had 17 points in the first half.
The score remained close, despite Nevada scoring the first five points of the second half to make it a string of 16 unanswered points.
At the 11:19 mark of the second half, Cedarville only trailed 51-50, but a quick 6-0 run by the Pack led to a Yellow Jackets timeout with just over nine minutes to play. Nevada enjoyed an eight-point advantage with 4:10 to go, but that lead wasn’t safe.
A 3-pointer by Austin Foote cut the deficit to 65-60 with one and a half minutes remaining. Cedarville then forced Nevada to miss on the ensuing possession, but Jerry Evans was there for the putback and was fouled. The three-point play made it a 68-60 game with 1:15 on the clock.
The Wolf Pack struggled from the charity stripe in the final minute, but still made enough to seal the victory, the seventh in a row for Nevada (10-3). Nevada was 17-of-29 from the line, while Cedarville was only 1-of-6.
Story finished with 19 points on the night. Dario Hunt and Deonte Burton added 13 apiece and Czyz had 10.
Hickman and Foote had 15 and 10 points respectively in the losing cause.