Before Nevada hoops tears down nets, there may be tears

Tahoe Onstage
Caleb Martin, left, Cody Martin and Jordan Caroline play their final home game Saturday at Lawlor Event Center in a crucial rematch with San Diego State.
Michael Smyth / Tahoe Onstage
Senior night against San Diego State at Lawlor Events Center will signify the final home game of the memorable collegiate careers of Nevada’s Jordan Caroline and the Martin twins, Caleb and Cody. The trio of fifth-year seniors brought Nevada basketball to new heights and were embraced by the home crowd and the Northern Nevada community as a result. With a long march ahead full of postseason play, emotions will be running high when a total of seven seniors (Corey Henson, Tre’Shawn Thurman, Trey Porter and David Cunningham) in all step onto the court. “Four years have gone by so fast here,” Caroline said. “I really enjoyed my time here, but it’s crazy to think that this will be my last time in front of that home crowd… I might cry senior night, just the way the community and everyone embraced us is special.”
Jordan Caroline
Jordan Caroline is averaging 17.7 points and 9.6 rebounds in his senior season.
Shaun Astor / Tahoe Onstage
Caroline injured his hand when he punched a glass fire-extinguisher case after a 81-76 loss at Utah State March 5 after by a heated post-game exchange that began in the handshake line as fans stormed the court. “Oh, my hand’s fine, we just moved past it. It is what it is and it’s in the past now,” Caroline said in a press conference Thursday. Nevada announced it would pay restitution for any property damage. The Mountain West Conference reviewed the incident and advised the two schools to “handle the matter internally.” The Martin twins will be joined by their mother, Jenny Bennett, for the senior night presentation after the game. A single mother, Bennett served as a role model for both brothers growing up in North Carolina and her appearance for their final collegiate home may give Caleb a lump in his throat. “It’s definitely going to be bittersweet,” he said. “Her walking out there will bring a lot of memories and some emotions will come over me, knowing how much we’ve gone through since we’ve been here, it’ll be so worth it to see her.” Apart from the several school records the team shattered this past season, Cody Martin wants this Pack squad to be remembered for their community contributions off the court. “I just want us to be remembered as good-character people, being a group that works hard and gives back to the community,” he said. “We just want to work hard for them, make sure they’re having fun and have a good experience for some of the best fans out there.”
Tony Contini / Tahoe Onstage
Cody Martin is the leader of the Pack at point guard.
Tony Contini / Tahoe Onstage
All three players have a fond memories about their first game in Lawlor Events Center. Caroline scored eight points on 2 of 4 shooting and pulled down seven rebounds against Loyola Marymount. A transfer from Southern Illinois, he spent four years on the Reno campus, playing three seasons with the Pack. He eclipsed 2,000 career points and is fifth all-time in career rebounds. “I remember I was so nervous playing in front of them during the regular season,” Caroline chuckled. “In the exhibition game here before I shot, like, 1-10 so things have changed a little bit since then.” The Martin twins got off to hot starts in their first home game in the silver and blue. Caleb tallied a team-high 26 points on 8 of 14 shooting. Cody added 15 points and dished out seven assists. Both players transferred from North Carolina State to Nevada in the summer of 2017. “It wasn’t my best game, had to knock some rust off,” Caleb Martin added. “It was fun being able to play in front of a crowd again. The stadium wasn’t packed or anything, so we had to make sure to get people in the building and I think we did that.”
Tahe Onstage
Caleb Martin’s distinctive right-leg kicking jump shot is already Nevada basketball lore.
Shaun Astor / Tahoe Onstage
Cody’s memory is a bit more faded than his brother’s when it comes to his first regular season game in downtown Reno. “I don’t remember too much, it was kinda tough,” he said. “It felt like I hadn’t played in forever, the game speed was just different.” Apart from senior night, a Wolf Pack win over San Diego State would give Nevada a co-conference title with Utah State. The visiting Aztecs’ stingy perimeter defense and timely offense helped them upset the Pack 65-57 at Viejas Arena on Feb. 20. Seedings in the Mountain West Tournament are riding on the last regular season game, but Nevada is prepared to deal some sweet revenge on its home floor. “We’re playing for high stakes and they play a physical game,” Caroline said. “It’s going to be another tough one, but we won’t be caught off guard.” Nevada faces San Diego State Saturday at 8 p.m. The game will be broadcast on CBSSN for television viewers.

— Isaiah Burrows

Related story: Senior Tre-Shawn Thurman is the glue that bonds team.

Tahoe Onstage
Corey Henson is one of seven seniors who will play his final game Saturday.
Shaun Astor / Tahoe Onstage
Notes: Nevada is now 27-3 overall and 14-3 in the Mountain.  The Wolf Pack has won the last two outright regular season MW titles and a win over San Diego State on Saturday at Lawlor Events Center would earn a share of a third with Utah State who has already completed their MW scheduled with a 15-3 mark. … A Pack win over SDSU on Saturday would give the Pack the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament in Las Vegas. … Nevada has won its last 17 home games and would tie the school record of 18 with a win over SDSU on Saturday. … The Pack will honor seven seniors after the game on Saturday. … The Pack improved to 28-3 after a loss under fourth-year head coach Eric Musselman. … The 27 wins is tied with 2005-06 for the fifth most in school history. … Jazz Johnson scored a career-high 27 points. … Johnson’s seven made 3-pointers is his career-high and the high for a Pack player this season. … Jordan Caroline moved into fifth in career rebounding at Nevada with his 927. … Caroline posted his 17th double-double of the season and 44th in his Pack career. … Nevada is 42-2 when Caroline has a double-double. … Caleb Martin scored his 1800th career point that includes his time at North Caroline State and twin brother Cody Martin scored his 1100th career point which also includes his time with N.C. State. … Caleb Martin moved up two spots on the Nevada career scoring list to 18th and has 1263 in a Wolf Pack uniform. … Tre’Shawn Thurman scored his 1400th career point that includes his three seasons at Omaha.
Tahoe Onstage
At 6-11, senior Trey Porter is the big man on campus.
Shaun Astor / Tahoe Onstage
Tahoe Onstage
Tre’Shawn Thurman stands tall with the Nevada Wolf Pack.
Shaun Astor / Tahoe Onstage

ABOUT Isaiah Burrows

Isaiah Burrows
Tahoe Onstage sportswriter Isaiah Burrows also is a general assignment reporter for CarsonNow.org, an online news source in Carson City. He is a journalism major at the University of Nevada, Reno, where is the sports editor of the Sagebrush student newspaper. He is the Reno Aces beat writer for Tahoe Onstage.

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