Gayman gashes Guardians for 32 as Nevada cruises to 76-59 victory

Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Nevada Tiger superstar forward Clay Gayman, throws down a thunderous dunk in the first half of Nevada’s 17-point victory over St. Michael's Tuesday night. Submitted photo
Submitted photo

Clay Gayman’s spectacular 32 point, 8 block performance lifted the Nevada Tigers to a comfortable 76-59 road victory over the St. Michael’s Guardians Tuesday night in Lee’s Summit.

The West Central Conference win improves Nevada to 6-1 overall and a perfect 4-0 in WCC-play. Nevada has now won 24 of its past 26 contests, dating back to Jan. 3 of last season.

Nevada opened the game on a 10-2 blitz, punctuated by a Braeden Hinton triple. Gayman’s lay-in to close out the first quarter put the Tigers in front 16-8. Early in the second quarter Gayman threw down three consecutive spectacular dunks, capped by a reverse slam, handing the Tigers a 24-13 advantage, and leaving the St. Michael’s student-section in shock and awe.

Accurate 3-point shooting allowed the Guardians to stay close, trailing 36-26 at halftime. Gayman’s high-flying first half included six dunks.

Back-to-back Gayman and Carter Swearingen driving lay-ins put the Tigers up 42-28 midway through the third, eventually building the lead to 56-37 entering the fourth.

Dalton Gayman put the exclamation point on the Tigers emphatic victory, as the sophomore forward joined the jam-fest with a one-handed dunk, moving the Nevada lead to 73-51 late in the fourth.

St. Michael’s strategy of a full-court press backfired badly as Nevada consistently and easily broke the press, leading to many of Gayman’s mammoth dunks.

“Clay was just able to beat his guy down the floor when we broke the pressure,” said Nevada head coach, Shaun Gray. “Our guys did a good job of finding him, and he flushed hard whenever he got the opportunity.”

Gayman’s dominant defensive performance, which included four first quarter blocks, led to easy transition points for the Tigers.

“Beating the press, getting defensive stops and turnovers allowed us to get out and run,” noted Gray. “I was really pleased with the defense we played in the first and third quarters. We held St. Michael’s top two scorers to a combined 12 points.”

In addition to Gayman’s 32, Hinton concluded with 15 points; junior Matt Thompson 10; and Dalton Gayman chipped in 8.

“I was pleased with our balance,” said Gray. “I think it’s important for us to be balanced around Clay.”

Gray further discussed Gayman’s dominant performance.

“Clay has such a high motor, and that motor was going full-steam, and his teammates were doing a good job finding him in the open court,” said the Tigers fourth-year head coach. “And St. Michael’s just didn’t have anybody who could match-up with him from an athleticism standpoint.”

Continued Gray: “It was silly of them to try to guard him in the full-court, and he was just making them pay time-and-time again. When we would break the pressure, it was a 60-foot race from one end of the court to the other, and he’s going to win the race every time. As athletic as he is, sometimes I don’t think teams realize how fast he is in the full-court.”

Making a major impact early in the season, is freshman point guard Logan Applegate, whose uncanny court-vision adds another element to Nevada’s already formidable offense.

“He had some jaw-dropping assists,” said Gray. “He made some passes that really got the (Nevada) crowd on their feet.”

Gray said he was also impressed with the play of Hinton, a senior guard.

“Braeden was balanced,” explained Gray. “He made two threes, three two’s, and three free throws. He had a good all-around night.”

Nevada’s junior varsity team (3-4) fell 54-44. For the JV squad, junior Jayden Ast finished with a team high 9 points, while freshman Logan McNeley added 8.

Up next

The Tigers return to the court Friday, as Nevada hosts Warrensburg in a key West Central Conference clash, with tip off slated for 7 p.m.

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