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Wolf Pack set to tip off season against Eastern Washington

K.J. Hymes only player on roster that has played in front of regular home crowd at Lawlor
K.J. Hymes only player on roster that has played in front of regular home crowd at Lawlor(KOLO)
Published: Nov. 8, 2021 at 5:29 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (Nevada Athletics) - Nevada (0-0) opens the 2021-22 campaign Tuesday night, hosting Eastern Washington (0-0) at Lawlor Events Center.Tuesday’s contest will be live-streamed on nevadawolfpack.com, and will be broadcast in Reno on ESPN Radio 94.5 FM with John Ramey and Len Stevens calling the action.

UP NEXT

The Wolf Pack wraps its opening week, and two-game season-opening home stand, Friday night, tipping against San Diego at 7 p.m.

From there, the Pack heads out for its first road trip of the season, hopping to the Bay Area for games at Santa Clara (Nov. 16) and San Francisco (Nov. 18).

SCOUTING EASTERN WASHINGTON

Eastern Washington went 16-8 (12-3 Big Sky) in 2020-21, capturing the Big Sky Tournament title and reaching the NCAA Tournament, where the Eagles took Kansas to the wire before falling, 93-84.

The Eagles, which have nine freshmen on the 2021-22 roster, lost their seven top scorers from a year ago, a group that accounted for 88.5 percent of the team’s points in 2020-21 (1,662 of 1,879 points). Sophomore guard Ellis Magnuson is the team’s top returning scorer, having averaged 3.6 points per game, and having started 13 of the 22 contests in which he appeared.

SERIES WITH EASTERN WASHINGTON

Nevada leads the all-time series with Eastern Washington, 10-2, and has won five in a row. The last time the teams met came in postseason play, as the Wolf Pack defeated the Eagles, 85-70, in the CBI quarterfinals at Lawlor on March 21, 2016.

EXHIBITION TUNE-UP

Nevada tuned up for Tuesday’s season opener with a 90-55 exhibition victory over Dominican University of California, Nov. 1.

Four members of the Wolf Pack scored in double digits as Nevada outscored the Penguins, 49-24, in the second half, limiting Dominican to just 33.3 percent from the field.

The Pack shot 49.2 percent from the field, overall, and Nevada’s size also proved a major issue for the Penguins, winning the rebound battle, 47-33, and forcing 33 Dominican fouls.

Nevada’s 2021 All-Mountain West duo of Grant Sherfield and Desmond Cambridge Jr. combined for 34 points, with Sherfield leading all players with 19 points and seven assists, going 5-for-6 from the field.

Transfers AJ Bramah (Robert Morris) and Will Baker (Texas) each also finished in double figures, with Baker going for 12 points and eight rebounds. Bramah came off the bench to go 5-for-7 from the field, finishing with 15 points and seven rebounds.

Nevada blew the game open with a 21-0 run in less than four minutes early in the second half, turning a nine-point lead into a comfortable 28-point cushion.

2021-22 PREVIEW

Head coach Steve Alford returns for his third season at the Nevada helm, returning eight players, including Mountain West Newcomer of the Year point guard Grant Sherfield and All-Mountain West shooting guard Desmond Cambridge, Jr. from a team that went 16-10 and reached the Mountain West Tournament semifinals in 2020-21.

Sherfield, who was named All-District by the USBWA and NABC as well as to the All-Mountain West First Team, finished the season with team-best figures of 18.6 points, 6.08 assists, and 1.62 steals per game. The Wichita State transfer made a significant impact in his debut season with the Pack, and established himself as one of the top point guards in the nation, leading the Mountain West in assists and steals, and ranking second in scoring and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.51). He showed a flair for the dramatic, as well, hitting three game-winning shots in the final seconds for Nevada during the season.

Cambridge, Jr. also earned all-district recognition from the NABC, finishing the season with 16.3 points per game and a team-best 69 3-pointers, ranking fifth and third, respectively, in those categories among Mountain West players.

Also returning in 2021-22 are forwards Warren Washington (10.0 ppg, 5.9 rpg in 2020-21) and K.J. Hymes (6.3 ppg, 22 blocks), along with freshman starters Tré Coleman (5.0 ppg, 20 steals) and Daniel Foster (4.3 ppg, 48.6 FG pct. over 11 games).

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