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First-half onslaught propels Nevada over South Dakota State
by Kayla Dubchansky
Dec 12, 2009 | 671 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
RENO—The Nevada Wolf Pack was hot early against South Dakota State Saturday night. The Wolf Pack won 92-72 over the visiting Jackrabbits in front of 3,130 at Lawlor Events Center after shooting 60 percent from the field in the first half.

Brandon Fields and Armon Johnson were hot offensively for Nevada, finishing with 20 and 17 points respectively, most of those coming early in the game.

Nevada (4-4) never trailed in the game. With a 6-4 lead, the Wolf Pack scored eight straight points for a 14-4 lead.

A tipin by Luke Babbitt pushed Nevada’s lead to 24-10 with 11:25 left on the first-half clock. Another short Nevada run saw the home squad up by 22, capped by a triple by Fields.

“I thought we came out the first half and established a very good tempo,” Nevada coach David Carter said. “I thought we set the tone early. We got a lot of open rebounds.”

London Giles got in on the scoring action, throwing down a dunk for a 45-21 Wolf Pack lead with just under four minutes left in the half, en route to an 18-point Pack halftime lead, 49-31.

“We tried to execute and our main focus was to execute on offense and work on our team issues,” Johnson said. “I think we did that.”

The Wolf Pack didn’t let up in the second half, leading by as many as 29. Nevada maintained a 20-point lead for nearly the entire second half.

Fields laid one in with about 11 minutes left in the game after a steal by the Wolf Pack for a 71-45 advantage.

Joey Shaw sank a three for Nevada, followed by a dunk from Babbitt, for the local school's biggest lead of the game, 78-49.

Nevada went on a bit of a scoring drought, which allowed South Dakota to go on a 12-0 run, trimming the lead to 82-65 with 4:32 left on the game clock.

Keith Fuetsch ended the drought for Nevada with a pair of free throws followed by a jumper for an 86-65 lead.

“We’re always excited when anybody scores,” Johnson said about reserve teammates like Fuetsch and Adam Carp getting in on the scoring action. “We know what they can do in practice, so it’s not a big surprise for us. But it is exciting."

Nate Wolters put in 15 points for South Dakota (4-6) and Anthony Cordova added 10 for the Jackrabbits.

Nevada shot 53.8 percent from the field for the game but only 23 percent from 3-point range. Nevada held SDSU to just 39.1 percent shooting for the game.

Nevada was able to get all of its eligible bench players into the game and everyone got a score.

“The more time they can get, the better they’ll be down the stretch,” Carter said on his bench. “Especially for conference. It gives them more confidence in playing.”

Fields had a game-high 20 points for the Wolf Pack.

“I just took what they gave me,” Fields said. "My teammates knew I was open and they found me.”

Johnson had 17 points with five assists and two blocks. Babbitt had a double-double with 16 points and 10 boards for the Wolf Pack. Shaw added 13 points and seven rebounds to Nevada’s winning cause.

While pleased with the offense, Carter felt his squad could have done better on defense and on rebounding. Nevada out-rebounded South Dakota 43-36.

“Like I try to tell the guys, each game you have to get better,” Carter said. “Rebounding, we out-rebounded them by seven. And nothing against South Dakota State, but I felt like we should have out-rebounded this team by 19 or 20.”

Nevada, which is still undefeated at home, is back on the court at home Thursday, hosting Eastern Washington. Nevada will end its home stand the Saturday against Wagner.
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