RENO – Four different players scored in double figures as Nevada led wire-to-wire on Monday night, taking its home opener over Loyola Marymount, 79-64, in front of 6,176 at Lawlor Events Center.
The Lions fell to 1-1 after beating NAIA program, Vanguard, by a score of 99-51 on Friday.
Four different players reached double figures for the Pack (1-1), including Elijah Foster, who went for a career high 18 points (on 7-of-8 shooting) and pulled down 10 rebounds – one shy of his career best. It was the junior’s first double-double in a Nevada uniform.
“Probably the story of the night right now is, you know, Elijah with his player development,” Nevada second-year coach Eric Musselman said. “He’s worked so hard to get his body in shape. He keeps getting better. He keeps getting more confident.”
Foster played a larger role with fellow big man Cam Oliver battling foul trouble all night. Oliver still finished with 14 points, playing just 17 minutes.
“It was just trusting the system and taking what was given,” Foster said while downplaying his big night. “My team just has the most faith in me. It helps me in my game, with my scoring.”
Marcus Marshall led Nevada with 25 points in Friday’s season-opening loss at No. 17 St. Mary’s and shared the high-scoring honors with Foster on Monday night. He finished with 18 points, going 4-for-10 from deep, in his first home game at Nevada after sitting out last year due to NCAA transfer rules.
D.J. Fenner was the fourth Nevada player to reach double figures, going for 12 points on a 4-for-5 shooting night.
The home team moved the ball throughout, assisting on 19 on the team’s 27 field goals. It was an early promising sign for a team with several new parts this season. Six players who weren’t on the roster a season ago, saw time in the win.
“I thought we moved the ball. I thought we played unselfish,” Musselman said. “When you have offensive scorers like Cam and Marcus, those two guys aren’t good passers, they’re great passers. That makes it easy.”
In a bit of a surprise, sophomore point guard Lindsey Drew came off the bench and still led the team with seven assists.
After leading by as much as 17, at 30-13 early in the first half, Nevada saw its lead whittled to five on three different occasions in the second half. The Pack immediately recreated a cushion, answering with 5-2, 4-0 and 6-0 spurts.
Brandon Brown led Loyola with 13 points. He hit a pair of free throws with 3:35 remaining to sneak the guests within 69-62. Nevada scored the next 10 points to put the game away.
“Especially when you’re at home, you have to close games,” Musselman said. “And I think we closed it in the right manner tonight.”
Nevada remains at home on Friday night, playing host to the Pac-12’s Oregon State. The Beavers were a tournament team last year, edging the Wolf Pack in Corvallis, 66-62.
Tip is at 7 p.m.