Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

Letters From Lawlor - The Charity Stripe

If you missed the Boise game on Wednesday night, there are a few key things you missed. 1. The Pack now sits atop the Mountain West, along with Colorado State. 2. Nick Duncan of Boise State can lights out shoot the three-pointer. 3. The charity stripe was beyond generous to us. And 4., Cameron Oliver is officially back.

  • The Cons:

           For all intensive purposes, Nevada had a wonderful game on Wednesday night at Lawlor. That is, if you’re not counting the last few minutes of the first half, and the first part of the second half. The Pack came out strong, going on a 9-0 run before Boise was able to score. The offense was on fire, but the defense began to struggle, and fast. As Boise State began shooting the three effectively (I’m looking at you Nick Duncan), and the Pack’s defense started to become ineffective, it became clear to fans that this game might not have a happy ending. The perimeter defense all but fell apart, and Boise took advantage of that.

           And while the Pack corrected their defensive errors in the second half of the game, I still have to complain about a few other things. 1. Marcus Marshall has to be able to make layups. This is especially true since his three-point shooting has been off lately, and really, every player should be able to make a layup. While Marshall can make many fancy shots, it’s important that he’s able to do the basics also. 2. The Pack had a wonderful game in regards to assists (20 on 25 made field goals I believe), but some of the passing was absolutely atrocious. The amount of turnovers this team has had off of players simply not looking where they are passing is bad.

  • The Pros:

            THE CHARITY STRIPE! Man, I’m not sure I have ever seen the Pack shoot such beautiful free throws, at least not this season. Most of this we have to credit Marshall for, considering he made 15 of his 16 free throws, which made all the difference in this game. The only one he missed? His very first of the game. With Boise getting quite foul happy, the Pack began shooting one-and-one with almost 11 minutes left in the second half, and boy did we take advantage of that. The overall free throw percentage was 88.2%, with Oliver hitting seven of his eight, Fenner hitting three of his four, and Caroline hitting five of his six. Yes, you read that right, Jordan Caroline made 83.3% of his free throws on Wednesday night.

            As mentioned earlier, the Pack also did a great job of assisting on Wednesday night, with Marshall leading with 8 and Oliver adding 5. Speaking of Oliver, and I think (I hope, fingers crossed) it’s safe to say that he’s back. After being not starting three games ago, Oliver has come out with amazing games, and Wednesday night was no different. Oliver added 21 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, two blocks, and two steals. Like last season, Cameron Oliver has proven that he can play down the stretch. Jordan Caroline was also a beast on against Boise, adding 21 points and seven rebounds. From the first second of the game, Caroline looked ready to fight for the win, and fight hard.

  • Next Up:

            Ah, the Pack has traveled to lovely (she wrote sarcastically) Vegas, where we meet our neighbors to the South in a matchup this afternoon. After kicking the crap out of the Rebels when they traveled to Reno, everyone is expecting the Pack to give UNLV quite the beat down. UNLV does have home court advantage, but let’s be honest, UNLV has been downright ugly this season. The line is only Nevada by 6.5, but as long as the Pack shows up to the game ready to play hard, they should have the win easy. Let’s just hope they’ve shaken off the Boise win and don’t come in expecting it to be handed to them. The game is at three this afternoon in Vegas, and you can watch it on CBS Sports.

  • An Afterthought:

            Someone please explain to me how Muss has yet to get at T this season! I love the guy, but there have been a few times when he’s gotten so close. It seems that he knows exactly where the line is, and how to not cross it, something that Dave Rice helps him with considerable. But Wednesday was another example of Muss getting in a ref’s face, and crossing the line in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not hoping he gets one! I’m just always amazed by him. (Perhaps its his height.) It’s nice for the players to know that their coach has their back though, and I appreciate that Muss can generally realize when a call is fair.

  • The Word on the Block:

“Who? That mountain man?” “C’mon Oliver, what’re you doing? Floatin’ around down there!” “Even if they weren’t on the court, it’d be hard for us to make one.” “Muss says, ‘Practice your free throws ‘cause you’re only gonna be going to the hole this half.’” (On Oliver) “Atta boy! Now kill ‘em!” “It’s like the three blind mice!” (On the refs)

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