The Nevada men’s basketball team might have to be reintroduced to the free throw line the next time the Wolf Pack takes the court.
The Wolf Pack took just six free throws, making just four, in a 59-50 loss to the Clemson Tigers on Saturday in the U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam. Clemson was 16-of-26 from the line as the Tigers improved to 2-2 on the year.
The Pack, also 2-2 on the young season, was called for 21 personal fouls while Clemson was whistled just 11 times. The Wolf Pack actually outscored the Tigers 46-43 from the field during the game.
The Wolf Pack, which lost to Seton Hall to open the tournament on Friday, led Clemson for just 64 seconds. The Pack took a slim 11-10 lead on a 3-pointer by D.J. Fenner with 11:43 to go in the first half. Clemson, though, owned the rest of the game.
The Tigers went on a game-changing 16-0 run after Fenner’s 3-pointer to take a 26-11 lead with 7:19 to go in the opening half. Rod Hall had a pair of 3-pointers during the run. Austin Ajukwa also had a 3-pointer and Landry Nnoko had five points during the run on a 3-point play and a tip-in off an offensive rebound.
Jaron Blossomgame led Clemson with 13 points. Nnoka had 10 while Hall had nine and Ajukwa added six.
The Wolf Pack, which trailed 39-24 at halftime, fell behind 50-30 after a 3-pointer by Ajukwa with 13:26 to play. The Pack, though, did pull to within 55-47 on a lay-up by Michael Perez with 5:11 to play. The Pack, however, turned cold and did not score for nearly the next five minutes. The next Pack points didn’t come until Tyron Criswell drained a 3-pointer with 17 seconds to play to cut Clemson’s lead to 58-50. The Pack missed all five of its shots and both of its free throws during its cold spell and also turned the ball over twice.
‘Looking at our stat chart, we just missed our shots inside,” Nevada coach David Carter told the Associated Press. ”We were 7-of-16 inside the paint. Against a good team like that, you can’t do that.”
Pack center A.J. West was 2-of-7 from the floor and had just six points in 27 minutes. Power forward Kaileb Rodriguez was 0-for-5 from the floor and did not score a single point in 16 minutes.
Nevada had eight straight possessions with no points down the stretch.
”I think that’s the mark of a young team,” Carter said. ”I think we’re trying to hit home runs. We’re trying to make that play, and they just have to learn it’s one possession at a time.”
The Wolf Pack, which shot 40 per cent (21-of-52) from the floor, was led by Fenner’s 11 points. Criswell had 11 points in 19 minutes off the bench while Marqueze Coleman had 10 points.
The Wolf Pack will play the loser of the LSU-Weber State game on Monday. Clemson will play the LSU-Weber State winner.