No. 7 Nevada, South Dakota State high-scoring teams
Give the shot clock a night off. It probably won't be needed very often come Saturday when the No. 7 Nevada Wolf Pack play host to the South Dakota State Jackrabbits at Lawlor Events Center in Reno, Nevada.
Consider this: The Jackrabbits defeated Savannah State on Tuesday, 139-72. South Dakota State led 90-33 at halftime. Let that sink in for a moment -- 90 points in 20 minutes when the Jackrabbits made 35 of 46 field-goal attempts. They connected on 16 of 21 from beyond the arc in the first half and 23 for the game.
South Dakota scored on 18 straight possessions.
The Jackrabbits are averaging 87.9 points per contest and shooting an impressive 52.0 percent as a team from the field. The Wolf Pack are averaging 85.0 points per game combined and shooting 48.6 percent as a team.
Nevada, the seventh-ranked team in the nation, just finished up a perfect 25-day, six-game road trip. The Wolf Pack was tested along the way and passed with flying colors. They trailed then-No. 20 Arizona State by double figures and came back to win. Grand Canyon, coached by former NBA star Dan Majerle put up a fight, but still lost to the 10-0 Wolf Pack.
Now comes their stiffest challenge of the season.
"Our fans are going to get to see a phenomenal South Dakota State team ... a team that's certainly capable of beating anybody," head coach Eric Musselman told the Reno Gazette-Journal.
All-American Mike Daum leads the Jackrabbit offense with a double-double average of 26.2 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. He's shooting 53.2 percent from the field and is a two-time Summit League Player of the Year.
The Jackrabbits can score, quickly and in bunches. They cracked the century mark in their past two games.
"You're talking about a South Dakota State team that obviously is phenomenal at scoring the basketball," Musselman said. "Daum, up front, is an All-America candidate and a potential next-level player for the NBA."
Daum is not the lone offensive threat -- not by a long shot. The Wolf Pack will have to find a way to also slow down David Jenkins as well.
Jenkins averages 22.5 points per game and has recorded seven 20-plus scoring games this season and has two games where he has made eight 3-pointers.
A third Jackrabbit, Skyler Flatten chips in with 14.9 points per game, and has reached double figures in 10 of the last 11 contests.
"We're excited for this one," Flatten told the Sioux Falls Argus Leader said Flatten, whose team has beaten a ranked team just once - in 2012 when SDSU beat No. 16 New Mexico. "They're a great team and they play together really well. They're all old - they're very experienced. We have to be ready for them."
The Wolf Pack start five redshirt seniors in Jordan Caroline, brothers Caleb and Cody Martin, Tre'Shawn Thurman and Trey Porter.
Four players are averaging double-figures led by Caleb Martin's 18.7 points per game. Caroline is right behind at 18.6, Jazz Johnson averages 12.6 and Cody Martin (10.2) round on the top scorers.
Johnson comes off the bench and is instant offense, shooting 58.7 percent from the field with 25 3-pointers and Cody Martin has dished a team-best 61 assists.
"They're a great team, a veteran team with a ton of size, experience and athleticism," said T.J. Otzelberger. "There's a reason they're ranked.
"They're really good at home. They're coming off a stretch where they've been on the road. So they'll be excited to be back home. We're going to have to play with great togetherness, great passion and competitive spirit. It's gonna be a great challenge."
The Wolf Pack found out that last year's starting point guard Lindsey Drew, who hasn't played at all this season (Achilles), had hip surgery on Wednesday and will redshirt this season.
"He was working hard to return to the team from the Achilles injury and this setback will force him to redshirt this season. We wish him the best and look forward to him playing for the Pack next season," Musselman said in a statement.
Updated December 14, 2018