The Eric Musselman era opened to rave reviews Friday night in Hawaii.
The Nevada Wolf Pack scored 52 second-half points to rout the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers 73-56 in the Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic in Honolulu in Musselman’s first game as a college head coach. The Wolf Pack, which trailed by nine at one point, went on a 16-1 run to take control of the game midway through the second half. D.J. Fenner’s 16 points led a balanced Wolf Pack (1-0) attack. Badou Diagne led Coastal Carolina with 15.
The Wolf Pack also got 14 points from senior Marqueze Coleman, 13 from freshman Cameron Oliver and 12 from senior A.J. West. West also had 11 rebounds.
The Chanticleers, which finished 24-10 last season and lost to Wisconsin in the NCAA tournament, took a 23-21 lead at halftime. The Pack actually jumped out to a 7-1 lead five minutes into the game on a 3-pointer by Fenner and two baskets inside by West. Oliver’s 3-pointer gave the Pack a 12-9 lead with under nine minutes to play in the opening half and his jumper put the Pack up 21-20 with 2:16 to go. Coastal Carolina, though, stole the halftime lead on a 3-pointer by Jaylen Shaw with one second to go.
The Chanticleers stormed out to a 34-25 lead on a 3-pointer by Diagne with 17:20 to play. The Wolf Pack, though, then dominated the rest of the game, starting with a game-changing 16-1 run to take a 41-35 lead with 12:53 to play. The 16 points came over a stretch of just under four minutes. Coleman had four free throws, Tyron Criswell and Lindsey Drew hit jumpers, Oliver had a dunk and Fenner had a pair of 3-pointers. Drew, who scored just four points, tied the game at 35-35 with his jumper with 14:40 to play. Criswell’s jumper came after a steal by Coleman and gave the Pack a 39-35 lead.
A 3-pointer by Eric Cooper gave the Pack a 44-41 lead with 8:53 to go. Criswell, who eventually fouled out, had a dunk for a 59-50 lead and West hit a jumper for a 61-52 lead with 2:53 to play. The Pack outscored Coastal Carolina 14-4 over the final three minutes and 27-11 over the last 7:30.
Shaw added 14 for the Chanticleers and Marcus Freeman had 10. Diagne scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half.
The Wolf Pack also did most of its scoring in the second half. All of Coleman’s 14 points came in the second half. The guard was 10-of-12 from the free throw line, setting a career-high for free throws made in a game. All of Criswell’s nine points came in the second half as did all of Cooper’s five points. Fenner scored 10 of his 16 points in the second 20 minutes.
Fenner stood out all over the court. In addition to his game-high 16 points the junior had a career-high eight rebounds, three 3-pointers and was 3-of-4 from the free throw line. Drew, playing the first game of his career, also had six assists in 38 minutes. Oliver, also making his debut, chipped in with seven rebounds.
The Wolf Pack had a narrow 46-45 edge on the boards. The Pack finished at 40 percent (26-of-65) from the floor and Coastal Carolina was a mere 30 percent (18-of-60). The Chanticleers were just 8-of-35 from the floor in the first half. The Pack was 16-of-24 from the free throw line while the Chanticleers were 16-of-28.
The Wolf Pack will meet Montana State on Sunday in Honolulu while Coastal Carolina takes on Hawaii the same day.