Kemp leads Nevada over Northern IowaFeb 18, 2007 - 2:43 AM RENO, Nevada (Ticker) -- While Nick Fazekas has led Nevada all season, Marcelus Kemp was the star against Northern Iowa.
Kemp had 18 points and nine rebounds and Fazekas added 17 and eight as the 10th-ranked Wolf Pack picked up their seventh straight win, a 79-64 victory over the Panthers in a non-conference clash.
Kyle Shiloh scored 16 points for Nevada (24-2), which outscored Northern Iowa, 47-31, after halftime to secure its 10th straight home win and 16th out of the last 17 contests in Reno.
In a matchup created by sports network ESPN to showcase "mid-major" teams for potential at-large NCAA Tournament bids, both teams were hesitant early facing an unfamiliar foe.
"We adjusted to an unfamiliar opponent," Wolf Pack coach Mark Fox said. "In the first half, we were feeling each other out, and in the second half we got a great understanding of what kind of game it was."
Panthers coach Ben Jacobson admitted that the Wolf Pack dominated both on the inside and outside in the second. Nevada shot 9-of-18 from the arc for the game.
"The difference between the first and second half was that Nevada came out and made shots," he said. "They scored inside and out at the 3-point line. We also didn't do a good enough job on defense."
A two-time Western Athletic Conference player of the year, Fazekas is considered one of the leading candidates for the Wooden Award, honoring the nation's top player. Entering the contest averaging 20.7 points and 11.6 rebounds, Fazekas played well on Saturday but did not have to do it alone.
"We executed offensively (in the second half), defended better and came out with more intensity," Fazekas said. "We didn't play bad in the first half, Northern Iowa just played with us."
He was 5-of-9 from the field and 7-of-7 from the line. But it was his teammate who was the difference when the game was still hanging in the balance.
A reliable second option, Kemp had the hot hand throughout, shooting 4-of-9 from the floor and 8-of-11 from the line. The 6-5 guard used a combination of strong drives to the basket and soft jumpers to lead the Wolf Pack in their second-half onslaught.
Fox thought that Fazekas' presence allowed others to shine.
"I was very pleased with the unselfish play tonight," Fox said. "We shared the ball and it helps that Nick is drawing attention inside."
Freshman JaVale McGee contributed five points in 15 minutes but made his biggest impact on the defensive end of the floor.
"JaVale has been getting better each week, and he really contributed to our win," Fox said.
Eric Coleman had 16 points for the Panthers (16-12), who shot just 42 percent (23-of-55) to absorb their fifth straight loss.
"Nevada has too many offensive weapons," Jacobson said. "Since we don't see them everyday in the league, you don't realize just how good their offense really is. Nevada is ranked 10th in the country for a reason."
- NCAA BB
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
NORTHERN IOWA 33 31 64
NEVADA (10) 32 47 79 FINAL
Feb 17 8:01 PM
- NCAA BB
NORTHERN IOWA 33
NEVADA (10) 32 HALFTIME
Feb 17 6:53 PM
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- Jesperson's halfcourt shot puts Northern Iowa past Texas Mar 19
- First-year Texas coach Smart no longer the underdog Mar 17
- West leaves Nevada hoops; ex-star cites personal reasons Dec 15
- Northern Iowa gives Jacobson a new 10-year deal Apr 2
- Nevada picks Eric Musselman as men's coach Mar 25
- Rozier, Louisville top UNI to reach 4th straight Sweet 16 Mar 23
- East Regional action pits Cards against Panthers Mar 22