Dayton’s Holmes a ‘huge concern’ for Nevada in NCAA tournament

No. 7 seed Flyers play No. 10 Wolf Pack on Thursday

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Near the end of its 40-minute practice at the Delta Center on Wednesday, Nevada players and staff members took turns attempting half-court shots. Everyone missed, including coach Steve Alford, until one of the last players to shoot got one to fall.

No. 10 seed Nevada will need more outside shots to drop when it plays No. 7 seed Dayton at 4:30 p.m. Thursday in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Dayton also will need to shoot well. Both teams excel in making 3-point shots.

But one of the main topics of conversation for Nevada at its press conferences Wednesday at the Delta Center centered around Dayton’s big man, DaRon Holmes II, a consensus All-American averaging 20.4 points per game.

“I feel as if he’s a real good presence in the inside,” Nevada guard Kenan Blackshear said. “We’re going to have our hands full with him. He has shooters around him. It makes it kind of hard to help.”

“He’s a really good player,” Nevada guard Jarod Lucas said. “We know he’s an NBA guy. Obviously very, very skilled. He’s done a tremendous job leading his team. I know surrounding him on the floor they have tremendous shooters. They have probably the best shooter in the country in (Koby) Brea.”

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

Holmes has scored 20 or more points in four straight games and seven of the last eight games.

“Holmes is outstanding,” Alford said. “He can shoot the three a little bit. He handles the ball a lot. He’s got an apt ability to draw fouls. He gets to the free-throw line like 10 times a game. That’s where it all starts.

“Their guard play is outstanding. One of the best three-point shooting teams in the country. Doubling him and giving him a lot of attention opens up a lot of things for the perimeter. We have to be very careful and diligent in how we go about guarding him and the rest of the team. He’s obviously a huge concern because he’s been a dominant player all year. He looks like a very good pro prospect as well. Hopefully, we’ve been prepared by the league players that we’ve had to guard already.”

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