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Nevada scores big in 1st, 4th quarters to defeat Clinton

Jan. 3—A 20-point first quarter and 19-point fourth gave Nevada enough to fend off a tough Clinton defense on Tuesday night at home.

The Tigers (6-5) jumped out to a 20-8 lead and used a similar 19-8 advantage in the final frame to clinch a 57-48 win.

"When Clinton switched to a zone (defense) we started to stall offensively," Nevada head coach Shaun Gray said. "We struggled to get anything but 3-point looks for long stretches and those didn't fall very often in the second and third quarters."

Nevada only tallied 18 points total between those quarters combined while Clinton (1-5) tallied 32 and held a 2-point lead heading into the final stanza.

Gray noted he was "proud" of his team for not allowing that run to decide the game. Instead, the Tigers were able to get baskets on the interior from Alex Ast and Jack Cheaney and eventually got Clinton to go back to a man-to-man defense.

That's when Riddick Shook hit two triples and Gabe Smith added one — all three in the fourth quarter. And then Cheaney helped to seal the win by going 4 for 4 at the free throw line.

"It wasn't a complete fourth-quarter effort like we want on a nightly basis but we stayed the course and got better, which is the one you have to win in order to close out games," Gray said.

Cheaney finished with 20 points and was the only Tiger in double figures. Clinton was led by Garrett Ethridge with 12 points, Kaiden Townsend with 11, and Evan Mantonya with 10.

Nevada hosts Butler (7-2) on Friday night in a rematch from earlier this year. The Tigers fell to Butler 53-48 in the Butler Tournament earlier this season.