|No. 7 Nevada takes on Pacific in another early test|
Nevada passed its first test of the season, and there will be plenty of tests as the pressure grows for the seventh-ranked team in the nation this season.
Pacific, which obviously isn't in the spotlight like the Wolf Pack, also passed its first test.
But the Tigers will find the Wolf Pack a much stiffer challenge than SIU-Edwardsville when they travel to Reno to take on Nevada on Friday night at Lawlor Events Center.
Pacific (1-0) got off to a fast start on the road Tuesday and never looked back after scoring the first 16 points against the Cougars.
"I was really happy and pleased in the first half with our ball movement," Pacific head coach Damon Stoudamire said. "I thought we made some great extra passes and we really shared the ball, which is something that we stress a lot throughout the early part of the season."
Unlike the Tigers, it took a while for the Wolf Pack (1-0) to get untracked in their opener, an 86-70 win over BYU.
For the first time in their college careers, the Caleb and Cody Martin were held scoreless in the first half. Caleb Martin was saddled with foul trouble and played only four first-half minutes.
But with the game tied at 34-all at intermission, there was no panic with the Wolf Pack. With five senior starters, there usually isn't any panic.
"You're not going to separate from a team in the first 20 minutes; it's not enough time," Nevada head coach Eric Musselman told the Reno Gazette Journal. "BYU is really good. They cut hard, they're smart, they're well-coached; they're grown men; they're physical. We expected a really, really close game."
And that's what the Wolf Pack got, for the better part of the game.
But give Musselman some time to make the necessary adjustments and the outcome usually is predictable, which BYU discovered.
Preseason All-American Caleb Martin scored 21 second-half points. Twin brother, Cody, did not score, but did record a career-high 11 assists.
But what makes the Wolf Pack so dangerous is their depth and the quality of that depth, which is now even better than last year when Nevada made the Sweet 16.
Four scholarship transfers who sat out last season will see playing time season, and all four averaged 13 or more points at their previous schools.
If that weren't enough graduate transfer Trey Porter who averaged 13.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks at Old Dominion is available to Musselman as is five-star recruit, Jordan Brown.
So when one or two players struggle, there's a teammate or two or three ready to step up and fill the void. Against BYU, Jordan Caroline was that man.
Caroline posted his 28th career double-double with 25 points and 16 rebounds. The 16 rebounds tied his career high.
"I thought Jordan Caroline did a great job of keeping us in the game from an offensive standpoint," Musselman said.
One of Musselman's new players, Jazz Johnson, stood out, scoring 12 points.
The fans at Lawlor Event Center also played a significant role.
"For us, to walk out and see that crowd -- incredible," Musselman beamed about the nearly 11,000 who packed Lawlor. "Tuesday night; 8 o'clock start. That's what a top 10 team's crowds are like."
The Tigers will get a good taste of a Top-10 atmosphere in Reno, which will be much different than the announced crowd of 1,387 that saw Pacific beat SIU- Edwardsville.
Pacific's fast start took the home "crowd" out of the game. Lafayette Dorsey came off the bench to lead the way with 18 points.
Anthony Townes had 15 points and Roberto Gallinat had 13 for the Tigers, who also made 18 of 22 free throws. Pacific also outrebounded the Cougars, 43-25.
Stoudemire, the veteran NBA player, knows the challenge that awaits his Tigers.
"Nevada will be a really big test. We have our hands full going in there and I am interested to see how we respond to that challenge. From a talent stand point I think we bridge that gap, but from a mental stand point I think we need to continue to grow."