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Rebels basketball:

Moser asserts himself on offense, leading No. 18 UNLV to 77-58 victory

Moser took the Rebels’ first four shots of the game and finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds to help put away Jacksonville State


Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV forward Mike Moser takes the ball up court after a rebound against Jacksonville State during their game Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012 at the Thomas & Mack. Moser finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds as UNLV won 77-58.

UNLV vs. Jacksonville State

UNLV guard Anthony Marshall dunks on Jacksonville State during their game Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012 at the Thomas & Mack. UNLV won 77-58. Launch slideshow »

With one shot 20 seconds into Saturday’s game, UNLV’s Mike Moser eclipsed his point total from the season opener. That 3-pointer was only the beginning for the Rebels’ junior forward, who took the team’s first four shots and finished with a game-high 19 points and 10 rebounds in No. 18 UNLV’s 77-58 victory against Jacksonville State (3-1) at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Against Northern Arizona, Moser did everything but score, registering 11 rebounds and no turnovers. This performance wasn’t nearly as clean — he had five of UNLV’s 19 turnovers — but UNLV coach Dave Rice wanted to make sure he got Moser involved offensively from the beginning.

Rice often says the Rebels’ offensive leaders each night will vary by what the defense gives them, though occasionally it looks like he’s comfortable forcing it to one guy, too.

“We made a concerted effort to get him going,” Rice said.

UNLV (2-0) had five guys finish in double-figure scoring. Freshman Anthony Bennett nearly matched Moser’s double-double with 12 points, nine rebounds and three blocks in 22 minutes. SeniorJustin Hawkins came off the bench and scored 16 points while starters Anthony Marshall and Katin Reinhardt both scored 11.

Marshall was again solid at the point, dishing out six assists to two turnovers, but it came in a game-high 36 minutes. During the postgame press conference Rice referenced last season’s tired collapse in regards to preventing it this year with more balance. It’s early, but playing a guy that many minutes consistently was a big part of the problem and something Rice said this offseason he would address.

Rice may go into a game with target minutes for his point guard, but during a game it’s hard to keep to that if he doesn’t trust someone else to run the show. That was an issue at the same position last year with Marshall and starting point guard Oscar Bellfield both averaging a team-high 32 minutes per game.

That may take care of itself in the coming weeks with Reinhardt’s continued development and putting more on the shoulders of Hawkins, who plays starters minutes regardless of when he enters the game. If it doesn’t then UNLV may need to make a concerted effort to rest certain guys, particularly Marshall and Moser, more than it wants to to benefit the team long term.

“I don’t think we’ll have the same tired basketball team we had at the end of last year just because we’re going to play ourselves into shape and I have so much confidence in our bench,” Rice said.

UNLV closed the first half with a sizable run for a 32-14 lead that helped cover its offensive issues. The Rebels committed 11 first-half turnovers and shot 2-of-10 behind the three-point line. The problem, like Marshall’s minutes, was something they encountered often last season: really slow opposition.

Jacksonville State used up the shot clock as much as possible in order to keep the ball out of UNLV’s hands. It worked, to a degree, because the slow pace frustrated the Rebels to the point they got sloppy.

“I got a little wild, just wanted to get the game going faster,” Moser said. “A little frustrated from how they were playing.”

The Gamecocks couldn’t take more advantage of those turnovers because they shot just 21.7 percent from the field in the first half. Jacksonville State missed plenty of decent looks during that stretch but UNLV’s defense deserves just as much, if not more credit, for that outcome. Anytime an opponent scores just 14 points in a half you’re doing something right.

“We had a couple lapses but our athleticism made up for it,” said Hawkins, who had two steals.

Behind Bennett and Moser, UNLV dominated the boards, outrebounding the Gamecocks 41-24. Controlling the glass like that allows the Rebels to more easily weather droughts on offense or defense, something that becomes more important when the competition moves up a considerable notch Friday at the Mack against Oregon.

UNLV plays games on back-to-back days right after Thanksgiving, first hosting the Ducks and then playing either Iowa State or No. 24 Cincinnati on Saturday in the Global Sports Classic. With two games in 48 hours conditioning is going to be even more important to survive, as is relying on defense and rebounding to carry the team no matter what the offense is doing.

The Rebels obviously need to get better throughout this season, a process that may need to be expedited this week in practice. The players have said they’re eager for more games because they’re tired of beating up on each other.

“Be careful what you wish for,” Rice said, “because good games and tough games are coming up very soon.”

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

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  1. The Rebels looked sloppy last night, but they won nevertheless. They still have a lot of work to do. One thing I didn't get was why they didn't play Goodman more.

  2. Sloppy is a good way to put it. A little concerned about the turnovers because most all were unforced mental errors but it is early in the season and that should improve as guys get into more of a rythym. What is a bigger concern is the Rebels defense. Rarely did I see anyone pressure the ball last night. Routinely Marshall in particular was a good 5 feet off his man and almost standing up. Moser played so far off it looked like he was playing zone. The funny thing was even with the Rebels playing a soft man J St guys still beat them off the dribble. They just can not shoot. The reason they were able to hold the ball and use clock was we let them. Absolutely no sense of urgency and no pressure defensively. Not quite sure why the Coaches game planned this strategy or simply sat by and allowed it to happen. With teams like Oregon, Cinci, and Iowa State coming in, Rebels better strap it on and quickly.

  3. Comment removed by moderator. Name Calling

  4. Young(ish) team, early season. Hopeful as the season progresses. Go Rebels!

  5. Much of UNLV's lack of urgency, poor defensive play, poor shot decisions/selections, and lack of discipline stems from the fact that UNLV does not have a coach. How sad all that "so called" talent and no one to lead them. Go Hoosiers!!!

  6. HoosierBoy-

    Instead of trolling other team's messageboards, you may try to acquire a life. Or not. In any case, we'd like to play Indiana. Maybe your dad will even take you to the game!

  7. @ mickeyday LOL Bring it on, Indiana will show you how it should be done. Awww, did my comment upset you. Calm down little rebel. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

  8. Don't feed the trolls. Let the Rebels shut em up.

  9. College basketball doesn't have the BCS.. you don't have to win every game by 40. A 19 point win against a team holding the ball to the end of the shot clock all game is plenty sufficient.

    Dave Rice seems to still be experimenting with lineups and the rotation, something he should be doing with 3 freshmen and a red shirt sophomore getting big minutes. I'm not sold on his game management ability yet, but I don't think he's doing a bad job. For some reason "fans" out there think a young team like this should step into the 3rd game looking like an NBA team.. Adjust your expectations and enjoy the ride.

  10. OMG.. JerryWayne, you actuallt believe the rebels are capable of shutting up the so called Trollers. That is so loyal LOL. News Flash JerryWayne, UNLV impressed no one in this weeks polls, they remained at #18. While other teams were shifted around depending on wins or losses, no body even thought about UNLV. Que lastima. Go Hoosiers...

  11. I agree with Gumby. Although I missed the first two games & cant speak to those, I was extremely disappointed with our defense. There was no ball pressure & we conceded the first pass just letting them run their stuff. Maybe that was by design to keep AMarsh fresh & out of foul trouble because he is a risk taker & foul prone on D....but even our help was slow or non existent giving up way too many layups. That is a concern. But our aggressiveness on the glass is not....when the ball is on the rim we definitely go get it. Still, JHawk & BDJones were the only players I thought really got into people on the perimeter. I hope that changes.

    I also thought Jac St showed that we are kind of wobbly dealing with full court pressure. I think we'll probably see more of it. Maybe that was just early season kinks & AM's inexperience at the one but you could definitely tell we didnt have Oscar anymore. He had some faults but being strong with the ball under pressure wasnt one of them. Lots of areas to work on. Got to get them covered because our athleticism wont always bail us out vs high level comp.

  12. Hate to sound like I'm picking on Mike, but he has gotten really careless handling the ball. Whether in a half court set or pushing the ball full court, it looks like he's more concerned with getting style points than being efficient.

    The defense needs to be turned up against Oregon and Cincy/ISU, and yes I think we will be seeing some more full court pressure until we demonstrate the ability to handle it.

    Should be a fun weekend, might even arrive early to see the visiting bracket. My pick is Campbell. They are statistically efficient on offense and don't turn the ball over. UNLV's home court is a big advantage, and the Cincy/ISU game promises to be a good one.