RENO, Nevada (AP) — Nevada coach Eric Musselman wanted to send a message about his team’s 3-point shooting, especially against the zone defense.
“I think everybody is playing zone (when they play us),” Musselman said Friday night. “That’s fine. I think our school record is 17 3s. I didn’t know it until I grabbed the stat sheet. I would have told them to launch a few more with five minutes to go because we’re two short from the record.”
Caleb Martin scored all 22 of his points in the second half and No. 7 Nevada shot 48 percent from 3-point range in an 83-61 victory over Pacific.
Jordan Caroline scored 16 points, Tre’Shawn Thurman added 14, Jazz Johnson 12 and Cody Martin 11 for Nevada (2-0).
Anthony Townes finished with 13 points and Lafayette Dorsey had 10 for the Tigers (1-1).
Nevada had a lopsided size advantage with all of its starters standing 6-foot-7 or taller. Pacific’s tallest starter was 6-foot-7 Jahbril Price-Noel. But instead of exploiting that advantage, Nevada went to work from beyond the arc — and it worked.
The Wolf Pack shot 60 percent of its first 38 shots from 3-point range and converted 15 of 31 from long range.
“I’m not surprised that they are making those shots,” said Cody Martin, who also had 11 assists. “It just feels good because for them the biggest thing was not just getting the nerves or the jitters, or whatever you want to call it, out of the way, but once one fell for them, it was over.”
That success helped the Wolf Pack maintain a lead most of the game, even with last year’s top scorer, Caleb Martin, held scoreless in the first half. He was also scoreless in the first half of the team’s opener on Tuesday and wound up with 21 points.
“Scouting reports are so centered on him,” Musselman said. “I think he is trying to get other guys involved early in the game. Last year, we went to him a lot early in the game. Now we’re going to him in the second half.”
Nevada did end up exploiting its height advantage, but not before Pacific forward Zach Cameron left the game with an injury and Price-Noel fouled out with 11:41 left.
“The first half we were fine, but in the second half, we didn’t have answers,” Pacific coach Damon Stoudamire said. “They made a lot of shots and we got into some foul trouble … at their place, you can’t do that.”
Pacific (1-1) played the majority of the second half in foul trouble. The Tigers had 28 personal fouls while Nevada had 18.
Nevada built a nine-point lead by the end of the first half and outscored Pacific 49-34 in the second half.
Pacific: The Tigers stayed in striking distance of a top 10 team, but couldn’t survive foul trouble and Nevada’s hot shooting down the stretch.
Nevada: The Wolf Pack look like a second-half team through the first two games. Nevada outscored its first two opponents 68-59 in the first half and 101-70 in the second half.
MARTIN’S SECOND HALF SUCCESS
In back-to-back games to start the season, Caleb Martin, Nevada’s leading scorer in 2017-18, entered halftime scoreless. Martin scored 21 points in the second half of the season opener against BYU. He scored 22 in the second half Friday.
Pacific: The Tigers return to Stockton to host Stanislaus State on Tuesday
Nevada: The Wolf Pack plays game three of its four-game home stand against Little Rock on Friday.
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