Nevada took home the Paradise Jam World Championship with a 77-62 victory over Bowling Green on Monday at St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands.
The Wolf Pack won the Paradise Jam tournament with wins over Fordham, Valparaiso and Bowling Green. It’s the second Paradise Jam title for head coach Steve Alford.
“I’m just really proud of them,” Alford said in a Paradise Jam post-game interview. “It’s the first year we’re trying to build a culture and build an identity of who we want to be. … I’m super proud of these guys.”
Nevada shot 40 percent from the field and 48 percent from 3-point range (13-for-27). Jazz Johnson scored a game-high 25 points on 9-of-21 shooting. Jalen Harris added 20 points and seven assists. Lindsey Drew had 10 points and chipped in with a team-high 10 rebounds.
Harris and Johnson were named to the Paradise Jam All-Tournament team. Harris won MVP honors.
Following a tough road loss before the tournament, Nevada responded with three emphatic victories.
“After our big loss to Davidson (on Nov. 19) we came back and fought really well,” Johnson said post-game. “I’m just proud of where we came so far.”
Bowling Green was held to 34 percent shooting from the field and 1-of-20 shooting from beyond the arc. Nevada forced eight turnovers and limited the Falcons to 24 points in the first half.
The Wolf Pack opened with a quick 6-0 run and built a 13-4 lead. Johnson’s layup in transition put Nevada up double-digits, 23-23, with 10 minutes remaining in the opening half. Johncarlos Reyes’ and-1 layup attempt pushed Nevada’s lead to 19 points with under five minutes left. Nisré Zouzoua’s 3-point basket gave the Pack a commanding 42-24 lead at the half.
Drew began the second half with a 3-pointer to give the Pack a 22-point advantage, their largest lead of the contest. Bowling Green chipped into the deficit with an 8-2 run with 11 minutes remaining.
Nevada kept its foot on the gas pedal. Harris’ thunderous dunk kept the Pack’s lead intact at 55-41. The Wolf Pack cruised the rest of the way with another Harris dunk and Drew’s mid-range jumper to close out the game.
Nevada, 5-3, face Santa Clara on Dec. 4 at Lawlor Events Center in Reno.
— Isaiah Burrows