Nevada basketball showed up Wednesday with a pair of exhibition victories at Lawlor Events Center.
The women’s team kicked-off the night with an 102-56 win over William Jessup. The men’s team came away with an 86-55 victory over Colorado Christian.
Nevada women’s team tops William Jessup 102-56
Nevada cruised to an easy victory over William Jessup with a potent offensive attack. The Wolf Pack shot 55 percent from the field and 55 percent from 3-point range on 27 assists.
Four players scored in double figures. Senior forward Marguerite Effa poured in a game-high 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting. Junior guard Essence Booker scored 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting. Nia Alexander added 12 points and two steals. Freshman forward Dom Phillips chipped in 10 points.
Head coach Amanda Levens was impressed with the Pack’s offensive display.
“I thought everybody got to contribute which is great for your team,” she said. “We really shared the ball and played as a unit.”
Levens opened the contest with an even-mixed starting unit. Freshmen Jená Wlliams, Phillips and Alyssa Jimenez joined sophomore Amaya West and junior Jacqulynn Nakai to make up the starting five.
Off the bench, sophomore Da’Ja Hamilton, Booker, Effa and Alexander provided an offensive spark with 50 combined points.
Nevada pushed the tempo in the open court with unselfish ball movement. In the half court set, the Pack swung the ball around the perimeter and fed it inside with crisp bounce passes.
“It’s important for us to play with that aggressiveness,” Levens said. “We want to push it and bring it on both ends.”
William Jessup shot just 35 percent from the floor and 1-of-13 shooting from 3-point range. Nevada played with a physical mindset from the opening tip, hustling for loose balls and coming up with 20 steals.
“I thought they played hard out there,” Levens said. “We still need to work on our game fitness. … I was pleased with our effort and our ability to stay disciplined.”
The Wolf Pack jumped out to an early 10-6 with lead with back-to-back 3-pointers from Booker and Akai. Nevada led 29-11 after the first quarter, closing it out with a 7-0 run.
More of the same continued in the second quarter, Nevada pushed the pace and found easy buckets in transition. The Warriors couldn’t find any offensive rhythm, which helped Pack build a commanding lead 57-25 at the half.
Nevada led 81-42 to end the third quarter. It reached the 100-point mark with two minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Nevada women’s basketball opens the season against St. Mary’s on Nov. 5 at Lawlor Events Center.
Harris, Johnson lead Nevada men’s team past Colorado Christian 86-55
Nevada played to the tune of junior and senior guards Jazz Johnson and Jalen Harris in a dominant victory over Colorado Christian.
Both players helped the Pack build a 19-point lead in the first half and kept it throughout the remainder of the game.
Harris scored a team-high 26 points on 9-of-15 shooting. The 6-foot-5 guard took defenders off the dribble with a quick crossover and finished in the paint with ease. He had 13 points in the first half.
Johnson tallied 16 points on 2-of-6 shooting from 3-point territory. The 5-foot-10 played the role of the maestro, dishing out three assists and running around off-ball screens to get open on the perimeter.
“Jalen and Jazz can really score the ball,” head coach Steve Alford said. “That’s part of their games.”
The Pack shot 43 percent from the field and 26 percent from 3-point range. Five players scored in double figures. Nisré Zouzoua added 12 points and two rebounds. Lindsey Drew chipped in with 11 points and nine rebounds. Johncarlos Reyes scored 12 points and hauled in six rebounds.
Nevada held Colorado Christian to 38 percent shooting from the field with 17 turnovers. The Pack out-rebounded the Cougars 48 to 28, which fueled quick buckets in transition.
“I thought we did a lot of good things on both sides of the ball,” Alford said. “We came out of the second half not playing our best basketball, but we cleaned it up near the end and that’s important to create an identity for us.”
Alford ran out his original starting five of K.J. Hymes, Johnson, Harris, Reyes and Drew.
Nevada led 11-2 to open the game with two-straight baskets from Harris. The Pack quickly pushed the lead to double-digits and led 42-23 at the half.
Colorado Christian began the second half with back-to-back 3-pointers. Nevada responded with an 11-2 run to extend the lead. Harris sealed the win with a thunderous dunk in the waning minutes.
The Wolf Pack opens the regular season against Utah on Nov. 5 at Lawlor Events Center.
— Isaiah Burrows
Note: Head coach Steve Alford announced Wednesday that junior forward Eric Parrish has left the team. The former Bossier Parish Community College product committed to Nevada on April 19.