Rushed Reactions: #7 Nevada 87, #10 Texas 83 (OT)

Posted by David Changas on March 16th, 2018

RTC will be providing coverage of the NCAA Tournament from start to finish. David Changas (@dchangas) is in Nashville this weekend.

Three Key Takeaways.

Nevada Wolf Pack forward Caleb Martin (10) reacts with the bench during the second half against the Texas Longhorns in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament at Bridgestone Arena. (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)

  1. Big shot Caleb. Nevada’s Caleb Martin went 2-of-10 from three-point range and looked like he was trying to draw contact on nearly every shot he took from deep in the second half. But he never stopped firing, and after the Wolf Pack went down by four on a four-point play from Kerwin Roach, Martin hit back-to-back threes to put his team in control for what would turn out to be for good. The NC State transfer is a 40 percent shooter from three-point range, so it is not surprising that coach Eric Musselman let him keep shooting. Still, for the senior guard to overcome a rough first 40 minutes is a big reason Nevada moves on to Round Two, and Martin’s recovery was symbolic of the entire team’s effort. After shooting only 39.3 percent in the first half, the Wolf Pack hit 51 percent of their second half shots on their way to scoring 61 combined points in the second half and overtime.
  2. Nevada overcomes an enormous day from Texas’s backcourt. Kerwin Roach and Matt Coleman, neither of whom has been particularly efficient from behind the arc this season, were great from deep today, combining to go 10-of-15 from three-point range while scoring 26 and 25 points, respectively. That type of output ordinarily would – and Shaka Smart would argue should have today – result in a Texas win. But Texas’ big men struggled to take advantage of a number of good looks inside, and the heroic efforts of Roach and Coleman were not enough to carry the Longhorns into the Second Round.
  3. Nevada’s balance and ball security was too much for Texas. The Wolf Pack had five players score in double figures, with Kendall Stephens leading the way with 22 points. Given that four of those players average double figures, their output was not surprising. That balance is what got Nevada to the Mountain West regular season championship. In addition, Nevada, which takes care of the ball better than any team in the country, did a fantastic job of doing that in what was a fast-paced second half. It offset the 42-34 rebounding advantage the Longhorns enjoyed in game.

Player of the Game. Caleb Martin, Nevada. There are plenty of options here, but despite the lackluster shooting effort for most of the game, the Wolf Pack would not be headed to the second round without the late-game heroics of Martin. He also had 10 rebounds on a day when his team struggled on the glass. It was only his second double-double of the season.

Quotable.

  • “We did a much better job in the second half of trying to scrap around and get loose balls.” – Eric Musselman, on talking about Texas’s length and rebounding prowess.
  • “I don’t know how we won.” — Musselman, when asked about his postgame exuberance.
  • “It’s a devastating loss. It’s a terrible feeling right now.” — a dejected Shaka Smart, after the game.

Sights and Sounds. After the game, the fiery Musselman could be seen hollering and clapping jubilantly as he left the arena floor and headed to the locker room. It was clear evidence of how much the win meant to him, especially after his team trailed by nine at the break. In his opening comments to the press after the game, he apologized for any bad language that was picked up by the cameras in the post-game locker room scene.

What’s Next. The Wolf Pack faces a daunting challenge Sunday when they draw one of the nation’s most efficient and balanced teams in #2 seed Cincinnati.

David Changas (157 Posts)


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