Aug 09, 2020

Just out of reach

Senior Jonathan Wills goes up for a
layup against Nevada’s Kevin Panzer
during Saturday’s triple-overtime loss.
Wills recorded a double-double with 19
points and 10 rebounds.
Dalton Runberg / The Collegian

Two double-doubles not enough for ‘Dogs in 79-76 3OT loss to Nevada

It took 55 minutes, 32 lead changes, 19 tied scores and 52 fouls in Saturday’s men’s basketball game to finally declare a winner.

The Bulldogs fell just short against the Wolf Pack, 79-76 in triple overtime. It was the Bulldogs’ fourth triple-overtime game in team history.

Nevada, who came in atop the Western Athletic Conference at 10-1, was battled every step of the way during the game but clinched at least a share of the regular-season conference title with the win.

“We knew coming in that we were going to have our hands full in terms of having to deal with their inside presence and their post guys were the difference tonight,” said head coach Rodney Terry.

The game did not go without controversy. The officials were hounded by fans for many judgment calls that went the way of the Wolf Pack. The biggest uproar came when Nevada’s starting forward Olek Czyz appeared to foul out in the first overtime before officials changed the call.

The game appeared to be over on numerous occasions. At the end of regulation Nevada had two opportunities to end the game early, but Deonte Burton’s missed 3-pointer and Dario Hunt’s rebound and missed jumper as time expired forced the game into extra minutes. At the end of the first overtime it was Fresno State’s Tyler Johnson who missed a jumper with only seconds to spare, sending the game to the second overtime.

“We got the perfect match-ups we wanted in those [opportunities],” Terry said. “You want the last shot of the game and we ended up with the last shot with the shot that we wanted.”

The second overtime had a similar result as the first but it was Jonathan Wills who missed the final shot of the period for the Bulldogs.

In the third overtime, the Wolf Pack took the lead with 55 seconds remaining on a layup by Czyz making the score 75-74 and Burton drained his final two free throws 33 seconds later to put the game out of reach with 21.4 seconds remaining. Hunt and Malik Story would add a free throw each to seal the game.

The Wolf Pack relied solely on their starting five, getting only one point from the bench, a free throw by Jordan Finn. Czyz finished the game with 25 points. Hunt added 20 and Burton finished the game with 19.

Junior Kevin Foster had a career game, scoring 24 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in 40-plus minutes on the floor before being fouled out in the final minute of the third overtime. Foster was one of three Bulldogs to foul out in the intense, physical match-up.

Every starter on the Bulldog roster collected at least four fouls with both Tyler Johnson and Kevin Olekaibe fouling out. The ‘Dogs were called on 29 different occasions for fouls.

Olekaibe, who came off a career-high 43 points against Seattle University on Thursday, was able to do little against Nevada’s relentless defense, putting up 11 points, eight coming from the field. He would finish the night 3-of-13 from the field and 2-of-8 from three-point range.

The starters combined for 49 points, shooting 16-of-56 overall. Both teams struggled throughout game to find easy baskets. The Wolf Pack shot 25-of-60 from the field and 3-of-16 from 3-point range. The Bulldogs were slightly worse, shooting 25-of-71 but slightly better from beyond the arc sinking 5-of-19.

The loss dropped the Bulldogs to 13-17 and 3-9 in the WAC. The loss also dropped the Bulldogs to 0-3 this season in overtime games and 2-2 all-time in triple-overtime games.

The win boosted the Wolf Pack record to 23-5 and 11-1 in the WAC. If the two teams don’t play each other in the WAC Tournament they will have another opportunity to rekindle the grudge match when both teams head to the Mountain West for the 2012-13 season.

“We’ll never be a program that settles for just being close and just being happy in a triple-overtime game,” Terry said. “With the league leader we play to win. Every contest we play we play to win.”

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