Rebels basketball:

Blog: Thomas’ offensive rebound and putback saves UNLV at Cal

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV guards Anthony Marshall and Daquan Cook wave to Rebels fans after their 76-75 win over Cal on Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, Calif.

Updated Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012 | 5:27 p.m.

UNLV vs. Cal 2012

Cal guard Justin Cobbs tries to grab a loose ball from UNLV guard Anthony Marshall during the first half of their game Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012 at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, Calif. UNLV won 76-75. Launch slideshow »

UNLV 76, Cal 75

Game over

BERKELEY, Calif. — Quintrell Thomas grabbed Anthony Marshall's missed shot and put it in while drawing a foul in the final seconds to help No. 21 UNLV escape with a 76-75 victory at Cal.

Bryce Dejean-Jones scored 22 points, Anthony Bennett had 25 points and a career-high 13 rebounds, but it was the senior, Thomas, who made the game's most important shot. Marshall was trying to drive into the lane but was turned away, forcing an awkward turn around shot that found only air. Fortunately for the Rebels, Thomas never gave up on the play and swooped in to grab it and make the layup while drawing a foul with 0.9 seconds left. Eventually Thomas missed the free throw and Cal called a timeout to set up an inbounds pass and shot that was easily blocked.

The Rebels won the game but they may have lost Moser for the foreseeable future. The junior suffered a dislocated elbow in the first half and watched most of the rest of the game with his right arm in a sling. I will update his status as soon as more information becomes available.

Overall this was a solid win for UNLV. Cal is a pretty good team and the Rebels overcame a lot to sneak out with the win. They'll take victories no matter how they come, but overall this was a much better performance than the eight-point win at Portland.

Checks lasvegassun.com later tonight for a full report from this afternoon's game.

UNLV 68, Cal 66

3:41 remaining in the second half

BERKELEY, Calif. — Bryce Dejean-Jones went to the bench with his fourth foul, and on the next possession his replacement, Savon Goodman, was called for an offensive foul. That sequence could really hurt UNLV down the stretch as it clings to a two-point lead.

Dejean-Jones should return shortly, but one more and he's gone. If the game goes to overtime, that's two starters gone (Moser has left the bench now following his elbow injury). The Rebels' best bet is to keep giving the ball to Bennett, who has dazzled today. Cal can't stop him inside. At least it hasn't yet.

UNLV 66, Cal 60

6:08 remaining in the second half

BERKELEY, Calif. — Anthony Bennett has 19 points and a career-high 13 rebounds, leading UNLV to its six-point lead in the final minutes at Cal.

Bennett has been the most consistent thing going for either team this afternoon, though the spurts from Bryce Dejean-Jones are a welcome sign for UNLV. Cal's shooting has improved after an early second-half swoon, but their best player, Allen Crabbe, hasn't been able to play as many minutes as they want because of his three first-half fouls.

For UNLV, Dejean-Jones looks like he may be getting even better as the game goes on. He goes off in stretches and now has 20 points, including a big 3-pointer right before this most recent stoppage.

Bennett and Dejean-Jones need to touch the ball as much as possible down the stretch, and honestly there probably shouldn't be a single possession where at least one of them doesn't touch it once.

UNLV 47, Cal 41

15:58 remaining in the second half

BERKELEY, Calif. — Cal came out in the second half and started playing zone defense against UNLV. It's a different kind of look, more like a 3-2 than a traditional 2-3, and so far it's working in the Bears' favor. The Rebels have attempted, and missed, a couple of open 3-pointers.

Bryce Dejean-Jones picked up a third foul quickly so we'll see how much he's able to make an impact in the early goings here of the second half. However, Anthony Bennett has picked up right where he left off in the first half. He's got 15 points now.

UNLV 45, Cal 38

Halftime

BERKELEY, Calif. — Anthony Bennett and Anthony Marshall both have 13 points as UNLV has taken a seven-point halftime lead despite losing starter Mike Moser to a dislocated elbow in the first half.

The Rebels trailed by seven at the time Moser left with the injury after a Cal player fell on his arm while diving for a loose ball. UNLV moved into the lead because it started shooting better and causing turnovers. Cal already has nine turnovers.

However, the Bears haven't really cooled off from the field, shooting 65 percent from the field. Both teams have two made 3-pointers, though Cal attempted only four compared to the Rebels' nine.

Bryce Dejean-Jones has 10 points for UNLV, including a perfect 4-for-4 at the free-throw line. He'll be big down the stretch, though more important may be how Cal's Allen Crabbe does when he reenters the game. Crabbe only played nine minutes because of foul trouble — he has three, including a questionable flagrant one call — and Cal struggled to hang onto the ball in his absence.

Both team's big men are doing work down low though. It's a great game for big men, especially Bennett, who continues to dazzle. He's got eight rebounds to go with his 13 points in 17 minutes.

UNLV 39, Cal 36

3:15 remaining in the first half

BERKELEY, Calif. — When Mike Moser left the game with an arm injury, UNLV trailed 13-6. Since then Bryce Dejean-Jones and Anthony Bennett have picked up the slack and carried the Rebels into the lead.

Moser has since returned the the bench with his right arm in a sling. TV viewers said it looked like a Cal player fell on his elbow and bent it in a way elbows don't bend.

Besides the offensive production, UNLV has been helped out by a beneficial, and questionable, flagrant 1 foul on Cal's best player, Allen Crabbe. Crabbe had to go to the bench with his third foul, a huge help for a Rebels defense that was already starting to play better.

Add those two things together and you've got a rebels lead.

Cal 18, UNLV 17

11:55 remaining in the first half

BERKELEY, Calif. — Mike Moser has left the game with an apparent elbow injury. Moser was going to the floor after a loose ball and on TV replays it apparently looked like a Cal player fell on his elbow. The severity is not yet known, but I'd be surprised to see him back today and he may possibly be out for the foreseeable future.

UNLV not getting in Cal's face on defense as Bears get out to lead

Cal 12, UNLV 6

15:41 remaining in the first half

BERKELEY, Calif. — UNLV needed to make a lot of fixes from its narrow victory at Portland do pull out a win today in Cal. So far the Rebels aren't there, missing a couple of 3-pointer and giving the Bears open looks at the other end.

The Rebels are going under screens on defense and the Bears are using that space to get off quick shots. Cal is shooting about 70 percent from the field while UNLV is at less than 30.

There's plenty of time to fix things at both ends, but obviously this isn't the start UNLV was hoping for.

No. 21 UNLV (6-1) back on the road today to play at Cal (6-1)

BERKELEY, Calif. — It’s a good thing these teams will give us an answer today on the court, because trying to determine how today’s UNLV-at-Cal game will go doesn’t lead to much certainty.

For instance, are the Bears more like the team that started 6-0 against middling competition or the one that lost by 25 on the road against a good but not great Wisconsin team? And are the Rebels the same team on the road that they were last year, or will newcomers such as Katin Reinhardt and Bryce Dejean-Jones thrive away from home once they get more comfortable?

Although some may say they do, no one knows the answers to these and many more questions swirling around both of these teams. Luckily the Bears (6-1) and Rebels (6-1) will take care of that for us when they play at the Haas Pavilion at 3 this afternoon on ESPNU.

No. 21 UNLV gets junior forward Mike Moser back, which could be a big help should the Bears use much zone defense. UNLV coach Dave Rice said via text Sunday morning that Moser isn’t guaranteed to start but that he will play.

Moser can fill that high-post area against a zone defense, one of the most important spots on the floor for beating the attack. Success shooting or passing the ball from the free-throw line can clear up the clutter down in the paint that stymied the Rebels on Tuesday in Portland.

The key for UNLV is to find that space inside and take advantage of Anthony Bennett's athleticism in the post. The Rebels can take 3s, but those will be better shots if they come off passes from the inside after the zone or help defense is forced to come off those shooters.

That’s UNLV’s plan in most games. It doesn’t happen because the Rebels admittedly panic when things don’t go right. It’s important they learn to battle that feeling away from home and stick to the plan. That’s the best path to victory.

THE OTHER SIDE

Cal projected lineup

G — Justin Cobbs, 6-3, Jr, 18.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.1 apg

G — Brandon Smith, 6-0, Sr, 4.1 ppg, 3 apg, 2 rpg

G — Allen Crabbe, 6-6, Jr, 22.4 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 60.4 eFG%

F — David Kravish, 6-9, So, 5.9 ppg, 8 rpg, 1 bpg

F — Richard Solomon, 6-10, Jr, 7.6 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 7.5-to-1 TO-Ast ratio

Sixth man — G, Ricky Kreklow, 6-6, So, 6.5 ppg, 5 rpg, 80 FT%

Best name: Bak Bak (pronounced bahk bahk), 6-9, Sr, F

Extra storyline: Cobbs and UNLV’s Justin Hawkins, who likely will guard each other at times, played together in AAU.

Useless Wikipedia factoid: Cal is the second UNLV opponent this year (Iowa State) that had a large hand in the Manhattan Project. Cal physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer was the program’s scientific director.

Kenpom line: Cal -1.5

Vegas line: Cal -1

Bern’s take: I could easily see this going two ways: Cal by a few or UNLV by a lot. Since I still have a lot of questions about the Rebels on the road, I’m going with the former. Cal 78, UNLV 74

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

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  1. Mike Moser has a dislocated elbow. Hopefully, there is no ligament damage. If there is none, he can be back within 2 weeks. If there is, then he could very well miss the season.

  2. Did we lose our 3-point goal streak at some point? I feel stupid for asking, but have not heard one reference to it this year.

  3. Can't wait to start hearing the Dave Rice haters kissing his *** for getting a tough win at Cal. The Rebels played a good game today. They moved much better against the zone, and they played with an attacking mentality. The only downfall today was the defense. They let Cal shoot over 50% from the field, and they were in the bonus for over half of the second half. Having Khem Birch would've helped against the big that Cal had.

  4. I know I criticised Taylor's officiating theory after the Portland game, but I could swear the officials for this game must have read and agreed with him, because the whistles were coming at a disarmingly high rate in the second half in favor of Cal, who was, according to Taylor's theory, unjustly called for more fouls than UNLV in the first half. The officials did a great job of making the game "fair" by calling a foul on UNLV virtually every time Cal had the ball and ensuring they were in the bonus early in the second half, hence making the game fair with equal fouls on both teams. Excellent theory, Taylor.

  5. What liljoe said and more of it. Those officials were calling it all for Cal and never calling the reach-ins they were doing. UNLV hung in there and got it done. Great job guys.

  6. I have to admit UNLV played a great game today. What a terrible injury to Mike Moser, hope he recovers without any residual problems or having to have surgery. UNLV deserved their hard fought win on the road. Hopefully they can keep up their momentum with the win. My only negative is the "lost soul" play of Carlos Lopez-Sosa, he just looks so lost out there. Great game Bryce, you were looking good. Thumbs up to the entire team. And NO I won't be kissing anything of Mr. Rice, I'm still not a fan of him. The players won today's game, they worked hard for it.

    Go Hoosiers !!!!

  7. Nice hold in a tough road game under difficult circumstances. Good win for the team and Coach Rice. Here's hoping Moser gets a good diagnosis. Re-bels!

  8. Guess the X-Rays came back negative, so no broken bones for Moser. Just have to wait and see what happens with the MRI. Only silver lining there is the fact that Birch will be in very soon to offset the loss.

    Louis - 3pt streak is still in tact as far as I know.

    There was definitely a "balancing out" to the calls the officials were making in the second half. I thought we definitely got some calls in the first half. Sure would be nice to see a nice, fairly, evenly officiated game. Couldn't believe some of the bailout calls Cal got near the end of the game. Bryce's fifth foul and the last foul on Marshall that almost gave Cal the game were atrocious.

    Hoosier - Rebels definitely fought hard and deserved this one. You're spot on about Carlos. The fact that QT has picked it up a notch this year just makes it look so much worse. Was the perfect game for Bryce to step up. He really let the game come to him and didn't force too much early on; let himself get into a rhythm. If he can start playing that more consistently, it'll give the team a whole new dimension.

  9. Thanks Mike, I didn't think we lost the streak at any point, but I have heard absolutely nothing about it this year in ANY of the media coverage (be it radio, print or internet).

    Great effort today.