- A second-half spurt gave No. 6 Nevada enough early cushion to pull away in what was a back-and-forth first half as the Wolfpack defeated the UMass basketball team 110-87 in the Continental Tires Las Vegas Holiday Invitational Championship Game. The combined 197 points in the contest was just six shy of cracking the all-time top-10 list for combined points in a game in UMass history.
"The talent level they had on the floor tonight was impressive and their coaching staff has done a terrific job. We just couldn't get the stop we needed in the second half to keep us right there," said head coach Matt McCall
. "I was proud of our effort and I really felt like we learned a lot about our team this week. We grew, we got better, and we need to continue to do that. Our league is wide open this year - anybody could win it - and we've just got to keep getting better everyday."
led the Minutemen (4-3) with 30 points marking the eighth time in his career to do so. Celebrating his 22nd birthday, Keon Clergeot
had a season-high 12 points on the strength of three three-pointers. Jonathan Laurent
and Curtis Cobb
each netted 11 points, while Carl Pierre
had 10 points.
Nevada (6-0) was led by 29 points from Caleb Martin and 22 points from Tre'Shawn Thurman. Jordan Caroline posted a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Cody Martin notched 18 points. The Wolfpack shot 61.5 percent from the floor and were 50 percent from beyond the arc which kept the Minutemen from being able to keep the deficit close during much of the second half.
The game started as a back-and-forth contest with UMass erasing an early five-point Nevada lead to go up 16-13 on a Pipkins three-pointer at the 14:03 mark of the first half.
The Wolfpack re-took the lead but the Minutemen kept answering with the first half being mostly a one-possession game. Following a Clergeot three-pointer with 5:05 until intermission, Nevada scored five-straight and eventually pushed the lead to eight with one minute remaining. Two Pipkins free throws followed by one from Unique McLean
cut the lead back to five, but Nevada's Corey Henson hit a jumper with two seconds left putting the Wolfpack ahead 56-49 at the break.
The Minutemen will next return to action on Wednesday, Nov. 28 as Quinnipiac visits the Mullins Center. The game will tip at 7 PM as part of a doubleheader with the women's team and will be televised on ELEVEN SPORTS and NESN. Tickets are available by calling 866-UMASS-TIX, visiting www.UMassAthletics.com, or in person at the Mullins Center Box Office.
For complete coverage of the UMass basketball team, follow the Mintuemen on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at www.UMassAthletics.com and online at www.UMassAthletics.com.