If you are a fan of defense and think as I do it wins games, then today we either get to prove or disprove that additive. Nevada comes in with the top 10 offense in the country while Texas dotes the top 10 defense in the country. It’s hard not to mention Longhorn standout Mo Bamba who standing at 6’11and a future NBA pick along with his 6’9 245 pound power forward Dylan Osetkowski score at will. However, when it comes to experience that is reserved for the six out of seven scholarship players from Nevada who have been to the dance before, two of which played in sweet Sixteen. Now we find out, defense verse offense, raw talent and size verse experience and grit. Kendall Stephens for Nevada came out and drew first and second blood one for two and the other for three, Roach scores quickly with a two and three himself to tie the game at five.
It didn’t take us long to find out if Mo Bamba was ready to play with an early dunk to give the longhorns their first lead at ten to seven. Cody Martin from Nevada scores a three and ties us back at 10. The Martin Twins Caleb and Cody who transferred from N.C state were some of the most recruited twins since Aaron and Andrew Harrison from Kentucky, Nevada coach Eric Musselman said yesterday during the press conference he recruited Caleb harder as most teams in the country went harder for Cody but it is clear with Texas’s size and ability it will take both twins scoring at a high rate to win this game. Mo Bamba is officially back throwing down a powerful dunk with eleven to play in the first half to bring the longhorn lead to seven.
Sitting with seven minutes to play in the first and the score Texas 19 and Nevada 16, this game is still anyone’s with both teams hitting and missing equally. Watching Mo Bamba at practice yesterday he was practicing from three for about an hour, today he has taken one three which he missed. Josh Hall hits a big shot to bring Nevada back within one with six minutes to play, but wait here comes Matt Coleman who hits back to back doubles and a three to extend Texas out to a seven-point lead with just under five to play in the first. Hallice Cooke for the wolfpack hits a three with just under three to play in the first to bring them within five of tying before the half.
Taking the team on their back a bit while Mo Bamba gets a breather, Dylan Osetkowski and Jacob Young drove the longhorns to a nine-point lead at the end of first half. Nevada has the number ten offense in the league as I stated before but with both Twins combining for just nine points in the first its looking like the number ten defense in the league which is Texas may be instilling their game plan a bit better, we will see what Coach Musselman draws up for his Wolfpack in the second half.
Here we go as Nevada brings in the ball and after a missed shot by the wolfpack, the Longhorns take control. Mo Bamba while looking the part hasn’t been much of a factor with only four points in the first half, the longhorns will no doubt try to make him a bigger part of their inside game. Just like that and Matt Coleman has scored twice for Texas jumping their lead out to fourteen early in the second half. Caleb Martin hit a big time three and was fouled, after making the extra point we are now at a ten-point game with just under eighteen to go. The longhorns have made it a point to get Bamba the ball in the low post, they have succeeded several times and now have stretched their lead again. Kendall Stephens who had eight in the first half combined with Josh Hall to pump some life back into the Wolfpack offense and get Nevada back in the game just down four with under thirteen to play. It’s hard to keep a drive alive when there is a 6’11 eraser snagging second chances for the longhorns. However, the Wolfpack is hanging tough on the back of Kendall Stephens and just down six with eleven minutes to play in the game. Cody Martin took flight with a Jordanisk dunk followed by another Jordan, Jordan Caroline who together got Nevada within two.
This is what March is all about ladies and gentlemen, watching two greats teams battle for their seasons life. Texas is not giving in though making the easy baskets from the foul line while drawing the fouls down low. It’s getting down to the nitty gritty as we sit with only eight minutes left to play and the longhorns sitting with a six-point lead until Cody Martin hit for two bringing it back within four and then Kendall “I’m a grown man” Stephens hit for two and was fouled. After hitting the foul shot we are now only one point away from tied. This Nevada team has a lot of fight and isn’t going away but Jerrico Sims has woken up this second half after not scoring any in the first and now with just under four minutes the longhorns hold on to a five-point lead.
Jordan Caroline hits a BIG three and Cody Martin was fouled, he hits one of two free throws to bring it within one for the wolfpack, one minute left in the game. The big guy Osetkowski gets fouled and hits both shots to get the longhorns back up by four but Kendall Stephens quickly erases that with a three and puts the game back in the wolfpacks hands with 3.8 seconds to play.
Mo Bamba fouls out leaving Jordan Caroline, one of the stars of today’s game to shoot two. Here we go with 3.8 left on the clock Caroline takes his place at the line. First shot is up, and it’s a MISS. Jordan hits his second to tie with 2.3 left on the clock. Longhorns inbound pass is off and goes out of bounds and its now the Wolfpacks ball with 1.6 seconds left in the game, its literally been a dog fight for them to get back here and its now theirs to lose. Wolfpack to inbound the ball, the pass is good but the shot is not, and we go to overtime!
Matt Coleman draws first blood in overtime hitting for the longhorns putting them up by three but Caleb Martin quickly erases that lead with a three of his own. Two minutes remain in overtime and Caleb Martin hits two threes to put Nevada up. Not to be out done Cody Martin scores and with less than a minute left Nevada is up 83-79. Cody Martin fouls out. 84-80 Nevada’s ball with 27 seconds to go in overtime, and they turn it over to Texas leaving the door open for the Longhorns. After a missed shot by Osetkowski and then a foul on Jordan Caroline who hit one of two giving the wolfpack a five-point lead, one would think it’s all over, that is until Roach steps up and knocks down a huge three with 15 seconds left. It’s a two-point game once again. Kendall Stephens is fouled and hits both field goals, the Wolfpack will hold on to advance for the chance to stay in the dance! I guess in today’s battle the offense came together for the Nevada Wolfpack as they defeat the top ten power house defense of the Texas Longhorns.
HMG Staff Writer: Stephen Eugene