The Bullet Points
- Barring a comeback of 26 or more points, there was thankfully no way Nevada could possibly top their last game. And knowing the mass cardiac episodes this would likely induce, the Pack decided to take the charitable route in its 89-74 win at Wyoming on Saturday. How kind of them to think of us! After surrendering a pair of threes in the opening minute, Nevada decided that was enough tomfoolery, and went on a 12-0 run to take a lead they would only surrender once (to a tie) the rest of the way. An outstanding 31 of 37 free throws made, combined with a +13 edge in rebounds, carried the visitors this week, with Marshall and Oliver leading each respective category for the Pack.
- For the second week in a row, Nevada walked into a venue with more than its fair share of challenges, and dealt its host their first home loss. It was exactly how you’d hope the team would play after a week off, and ideally situates them in Mountain West play going forward. I’m not talking about the Pack now being tied for first, either, although that obviously doesn’t hurt. I’m talking about winning road games in the Mountain West. In a previous column, I stated that Nevada needed to beat its 4-5 mark in true road games from last year in order to put itself in discussion for an at-large bid this year. Saturday’s win ties that mark for road victories, and it comes during what is arguably the toughest stretch of conference play of their entire schedule. And with the team expecting Josh Hall to return to practice soon, they’ll face the rest of their schedule at something more closely resembling full strength for the first time in weeks. Nevada is the only Mountain West team that currently boasts a winning record in both road (4-2) and neutral site (4-1) games. Favorable road games at Utah State, Air Force and San Jose State still remain, and if you’re feeling especially gutsy, you could include UNLV in there, too. Through Saturday’s action, Mountain West teams are a combined 82-23 at home and 22-42 in true road games. When Musselman pumps up the difficulty of winning on the road in the Mountain West, that’s not just salesmanship — it’s a real achievement, even in a down year. Keeping that up will pay dividends not only for the team’s confidence, but for their postseason resume, too.
- Nevada’s reward for spoiling the Lobos’ and Cowboys’ perfect home marks will be returning to their own friendly confines for a pair of games with Air Force and Fresno State. The Falcons are the Mountain West’s top three-point shooting team (39.7% as of this week), while the Bulldogs remain a persistent thorn in the Wolf Pack’s side. The good news is that both teams are different animals in road games, where they’re currently a combined 3-10. We told you it’s hard to win on the road in the Mountain West. We’ll see how many people took advantage of Nevada’s “2 for $20” ticket promotion before dishing out some ice cold revenge to Rodney “No Credit” Terry.
- Begin Wet Blanket Transmission! Remember Austin Kafentzis? The transfer quarterback from Wisconsin who was going to rocket up the depth chart and lead Nevada football to the promised land? Not many people do, which is why we must resist the urge to hype up David Cornwell, who gave Jay Norvell his first verbal commitment from a transfer last week. The 6’5” graduate sophomore — wrap your head around that for a minute — comes to the Pack from Alabama, where he wasn’t a good fit in an offense he couldn’t crack the depth chart for, anyway. Yeah, I’ve seen some of his film, and yeah, he looks like he could put up Madden numbers in an Air Raid offense. But for his sake and ours, expectations should remain very guarded until we actually, you know, see him play in person. End Wet Blanket Transmission!
The Depot The Bishop Ice Distilled Bourbon Barrel-aged Imperial Brown Ale (Reno, Nevada) ~ That’s quite a mouthful, and if you can get past all that syntax, it’s not half bad, either. Reno’s own Depot put out a doozy this month with The Bishop, a beer freeze distilled four times, then aged for six months in a bourbon cask from Chapel Tavern in Midtown. It’s quite a build-up, indicative of the kind of creation that only a combined brewery/distillery like the Depot can legally make. It poured dark brown with minimal head, owing to that time in the cask, smelling faintly of maple, vanilla and bourbon. The taste was sweetly smooth caramel, maple, bourbon and cask wood, with only the faintest hint of high-alcohol burn, and finished warm and lightly sweet. If you’ve ever tried an eisbock — another beer known for its freeze distillation and sweet taste — you’ll mostly know what to expect, although this Bishop is not quite as sweet. Keeping it smooth and drinkable even at a monstrous 16% ABV is quite a feat, so watch your sips. Wax seals on beer bottles are a tremendous pain, though, and at $10 for a 12-ounce bottle, the price is also a bit steep, but it's still distinctive enough to warrant a try. I give it four tipsy Wolfies out of five.
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