By Daniel Reedy:
It’s not much of a surprise that Nevada finished atop the Mountain West standings.
The Wolf Pack just had too many weapons for the eighth-seeded Aggies, as the higher seed won 83-69 in Round 2.
Nevada got double-digit scoring from three players, led by Jordan Caroline’s 22 points. The 6 foot 7, 235-pounder Caroline was unstoppable in the paint.
Big man Cameron Oliver sunk just 1-5 from three-point range but dominated inside, posting 19 points and 11 boards.
“I thought [Caroline and Oliver] did a great job,” said Nevada’s head coach Eric Musselman. “We wanted to go inside a little bit more than be too perimeter oriented tonight.”
The conference’s leading scorer Marcus Marshall rounded out the trio, posting 14 points with zero turnovers. However, Marshall — a 39.4 percent three-point shooter — struggled from range, draining only 1-6.
“I didn’t think we played poorly,” said Aggies’ head coach Tim Duryea. “But [the Wolf Pack] were very, very good.”
Utah State’s Jalen Moore couldn’t have done much more, putting up 27 points.
“I was just trying to be aggressive,” Moore said. “Just trying — just playing my game”
Aggie freshman Koby McEwen who slaughtered San Jose State from beyond the arc on Wednesday, was cold from downtown, hitting just 1-5. He finished Thursday’s game with 17 points. McEwen went 5-5 from range, posting 27 points against SJSU, a program record for points by a freshman.
Fellow freshman Sam Merrill — a 44.4 percent shooter — hit both his three-point attempts but only took seven total shots.
While Merrill and McEwen will return next season, this defeat closed out Moore’s career.
“I appreciate the coaches giving me the opportunity to play here and just playing with all the different teammates has been fun,” Moore said. “There’s nothing like college basketball, so it’s been a really fun four years of my life.”
Nevada moves on to play Fresno State on Friday.