Nevada hosts Montana in CBI
RENO, Nev. -- The University of Nevada (19-13) men's basketball team will host Montana (21-11) in a first round College Basketball Invitational game on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Wolf Pack will look for win No. 20 when the Grizzlies come to Lawlor Events Center.
The game will not be televised. Ryan Radtke and Len Stevens will have the call on 94.5 FM and at NevadaWolfPack.com/audio. Further broadcast information will be announced as it becomes available.
The CBI is comprised of 16 teams with first round games set for March 15-16. The quarterfinals are March 21 with semifinals being played on the 23rd. The finals are a best two-of-three games series scheduled for March 28, 30 and April 1. All games are played at home sites.
Montana is 21-11 on the year and finished second in the Big Sky to Weber State with a 14-4 record. In the Big Sky Tournament Championship, held in downtown Reno, the Grizzlies fell 62-59 to Weber State. Second-year Montana head coach Travis DeCuire has led the Grizzlies to back-to-back 20 win seasons. First-team All-Big Sky Conference selection Martin Breunig, a 6-8 forward, tops the team scoring 18.9 points per game. Junior guard Walter Wright, an honorable mention All-Big Sky honoree is second on the team scoring 13.1 points per contest.
The Wolf Pack and Grizzlies have met 40 times and court with Montana leading the series 22-18. The Pack won the last meeting at Montana 70-64 on Dec. 10, 2011. Montana defeated the Pack 87-79 in the 2006 NCAA Championships in Salt Lake City on March 16, 2006.
The Wolf Pack last played in the postseason in the 2012 National Invitation Tournament advancing to the quarterfinals for the first time in school history and lost at Stanford. Nevada has appeared in the CBI twice in 2008 and 2009. The Pack lost 80-79 to Houston and 79-77 to UTEP in 2009. Both games were played at Lawlor Events Center. The 2015-16 appearance will be the 14th postseason appearance; NCAA (6), NIT (5) and CBI (3 includes this season).
Nevada is one of the most improved teams in the country having won 10 more games than last season under the direction of first-year head coach Eric Musselman. The Pack double its Mountain West win total to 10 games and finished tied for fourth in the final league standings. The fourth place finish is the second best in four years in the conference.
Coach Musselman mixed a blend of returning veterans with some talented freshmen to change the culture of Wolf Pack basketball. He was named the MW Coach of the Year by the website Bleacher Report.
Senior's Marqueze Coleman and Tyron Criswell along with junior D.J. Fenner flourished in Musselman's fast paced offensive and pressure defense. Two freshmen, Cameron Oliver and Lindsey Drew along with sophomore's Elijah Foster and Eric Cooper, Jr. provided the youth part of the equation.
Coleman, who led the Pack scoring at 15.9 points per game, earned second-team All-MW recognition from the conference coaches and media. Criswell is third on the team averaging 12.4 points per game and was selected as the MW Sixth Man of the Year by the media. Fenner is second on the team averaging 12.9 points per game.
High-flying Oliver is a young gun but has played like a veteran scoring 12.9 points, grabbing a team-high 8.8 rebounds and blocking a MW best 2.4 shots per game. He was selected to the coaches All-MW third team and Defensive team. The conference media picked named him their MW Freshman of the Year and to the All-MW second team. After posting back-to-back doubles at the MW Championships he was named to the All-Tournament.
Tickets for Wednesday's CBI game may be purchased online starting on Sunday evening at http://goo.gl/nrOKWk . If you wish speak with a ticket representative they will be available Monday starting at 9 a.m. by calling 775-348-PACK (7225). The Lawlor Events Center box office opens at 10 a.m. on Monday.
The first 400 Nevada students with a valid student ID will be admitted free to the game. The 400 tickets will be distributed at the main entrance to Lawlor Events Center when the gates open at 5:30 p.m. Additional student tickets will be available to purchase for $5.