unlv basketball:

Mike Moser leads UNLV to its second consecutive overtime victory, 65-63 at Air Force

Despite an illness that has plagued him all week, Moser had his fourth straight double-double with 27 points and 12 rebounds

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Associated Press

The UNLV bench celebrates the Rebels’ 65-63 overtime win at Air Force on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012, at the Air Force Academy.

UNLV at Air Force, Jan. 28, 2012

UNLV players react from the bench during overtime of the Rebels' 65-63 win Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012, at Air Force. Launch slideshow »

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

A sickly Mike Moser led the Rebels with a double-double and Oscar Bellfield hit a key 3-pointer in overtime for No. 12 UNLV to escape with a road conference victory.

The venue may have changed, but the script to Saturday’s 65-63 victory at Air Force was nearly identical to the Rebels’ 77-72 overtime victory at Boise State on Wednesday.

UNLV (20-3, 4-1) got out to a fast start, then fell behind as its offense cooled off and the home crowd grew rowdy. Once again the Rebels needed a stop at the end of regulation to avoid the upset, and then statistically dominated the extra period.

This one was closer, but just like in Boise, the Rebels found a way to win, and now they’re tied with San Diego State atop the Mountain West.

“It felt like déjà vu this week,” said Chace Stanback, who made the steal that sealed UNLV’s victory. “Ultimately, we dug in, we fought and we found a way to win the game.”

On UNLV’s final possession of regulation, with the game tied at 57, the Rebels gave the ball to Moser, who finished with 27 points and 12 rebounds. But he lost control before getting up a shot and the Falcons (11-8, 1-4) gained possession on a jump ball.

So, just like Wednesday’s game, UNLV had to make a stop to stay alive.

Air Force’s Michael Lyons, who finished with a team-high 25 points, drove to the right side of the basket on UNLV’s Anthony Marshall. In the first half, the contact that occurred on the shot attempt probably would have been enough for a foul, but at the end of the game the refs let the players decide it.

Once it got to the extra session, UNLV, which is now 3-0 in overtime, refused to lose.

“Our guys expect to win and they just have something in them that they make big plays and do it collectively,” UNLV coach Dave Rice said. “Couldn’t be prouder of our toughness down the stretch.”

A couple minutes into overtime, Moser gave UNLV a three-point lead with a dunk so ferocious it knocked the stuffing out of his nose, which he had had since taking a glancing elbow earlier in the game.

Lyons tied it back up with a 3-pointer that bounced high off the rim and in, but that would be the Falcons’ only field-goal attempt of overtime. UNLV forced six turnovers during the five-minute period.

“When it comes to overtime, it’s like do-or-die to us,” Moser said. “We want to get it done right then and there, don’t want to waste any more time. … (Bellfield) really put us over the top at the end there.”

On the next possession, Bellfield drilled a 3-pointer from the right wing early in the shot clock, putting UNLV back up by three. He finished with 15 points and seven assists and only added to his reputation as a big-time shooter.

“Oscar had a very good week,” Rice said. “His leadership is so important. We have so much confidence in him and he continued to step up and make big plays.”

From that point, the Rebels had a chance to ice the game, but missed layups by Marshall and Stanback and Moser’s three misses at the free-throw line kept the Falcons alive.

With seven seconds left, they ran a play that was designed to give Kamryn Williams a look at a potential game-winning 3-pointer, but Stanback stepped in the way and ran toward the Rebel bench with the ball and victory in hand.

Once again, the Rebels made plays when they needed them most.

“It’s frustrating being in these situations, especially back-to-back,” Moser said, “but it’s going to make us better down the road just learning how to finish out close games.”

Moser, who said he still felt terrible as he battles the flu, now has four consecutive double-doubles and 12 for the season. Marshall finished with eight points, four assists and three steals, and Justin Hawkins had six rebounds and scored six points, all in the second half.

Marshall, Hawkins and Kendall Wallace each hit crucial 3-pointers in the second half. Those shots could have been padding to a comfortable lead were it not for an uncharacteristic nine first-half turnovers.

“The turnovers were concerning in the first half, especially when we shot 56 percent,” Rice said. “That’s nine possessions we didn’t get and that’s another 8-10 points.”

UNLV jumped out to a 20-10 lead and led by as much as 11 points in the first half. As that lead dwindled away, the Rebels became visibly frustrated. They are familiar with poor shooting, but they don’t usually shoot themselves in the foot.

That was new, but the poor 3-point shooting — 3-for-15 in the second half — is the same thing the Rebels are used dealing with on the road.

“It’s just a learning experience,” Bellfield said. “You would have thought after Boise we would learn, but I guess there’s still more learning that we need to do.”

No doubt that Rice would agree. But considering the travel schedule this week and the target on their back, he’s happy going back to Las Vegas with a victory.

“I’m not going to micro-manage every single possession,” Rice said. “The bottom line is we found a way to win.”

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

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  1. Good effort overall. Reggie Smith needs more practice in leading the team when handling the ball. He's good, slow down, take your time, look at all option, follow coach Rice's game plan. He will be fine.

  2. Not sure what game everyone else was watching but the Rebels certainly did not give great effort. We were lazy on defense giving up numerous wide open threes and Stanback and Marshall were flat out awful. Both looked to be in a daze. Stupid turnovers and missed layups time after time. Marshall's last layup did not even draw iron. No way we do not drop at least two more games on the road playing like this. We cannot continue to get lucky. As good as I think we can be we are no where near a top 15 team in the nation the way we are playing now. Pick it up Rebels!

  3. Mike Moser cannot miss two free throws in the waning seconds like that. That could have cost us the game.

  4. I think a few "top 15" teams lost on the road this week. Rebels won two. I don't care if it was Boise or AF. MWC RPI is now 5th in the country. Not too bad in the end.

  5. Extremely hard fought game. They found a way to win on the road again. Mistakes were piling up, and easy misses, but determination held them in that game. Great job Rebels. On to the next one.

  6. Still have a few guys one the team, not just Moser, battling the flu. That could partially explain the perceived lack of effort. Flu +1000 high altitude will have anyone sucking wind early.

    Obviously we'd like to play better and win these games a bit earlier, but the fact remaisn that when it was crunch time and we had to have stops and we had to make shots, we've made them. I'd rather not have the guys get into that situation, but it can only help us down the stretch.

    All in all, it was fortunate to get those two road trips out of the way early. We didn't play great, but we played well enough to escape with a couple of overtime wins. Hopefully the team will get healthy and be ready for the next road swing.

  7. You're right, Wade, that one and the last one, as well. Although I stress out while watching these close games, I realize the fight and determination they are developing and utilizing from them will help the Rebs in the long run. But man...I think the blowouts are probably alot easier to watch! Great job though by the Rebs, glad to see them finding ways (especially through defensive stops) to win on the road, instead of giving up.

  8. Especially when you have a loud arena in your face and to hush everyone in there up and walk out with a win after another ot win 2 days before shows the heartt and fight of this team. Years past not sure if we would of walked out either of those places with a W! UNLV!!!

  9. Play Smarter not harder.... enough said.

  10. A win in a hostile arena, against an opponent who has always challenged you, when you are under the weather? Ask Novak Djokovic how digging deep matters.

    Nice to escape with a W. Again.

  11. We all know Moser was sick and he still put up huge numbers. Marshall certainly appeared quite ill and I suspect Chace wasn't well either. So for some perspective...looks like three best players are sick, playing at elevation, no Lopez, and they still pulled out two gutsy, overtime road wins to pull even with SDSU and are now tied for fist in the conference. I'm as proud of these guys as much as I've ever been this year. These are great wins that these guys will draw strength from down the road.

  12. Should've been a blowout. The way we've played on the road, we're not going to survive the tourney. We must learn to play better than this.

  13. Well luckily, Frank, we won't be playing on the road during the tournament, we will be playing on a neutral court, of which we are 4-0, with an average margin of victory of 20.2 points, and includes then #1 UNC, and #19 Illinois. Let's go Rebs!

  14. Calling the Orleans Arena a neutral court is a joke. Unless we start to play better on the road, we're going to struggle in the tourney. There's no disputing that.

  15. Please define "survive the tourney."

  16. Good and bad last week" Winning on the road is always a good thing even against the leagues two worst teams.Colorado State looked very good in the beat down of San Diego State,and will be very tough at the T&M,in addition to San Diego St.and New Mexico will be a challenge.The missed lay-ups and jacking 25-30 3's won't work against these teams.Coach Rice unveiled the aomeba defense against A.F. and we have the team to full court pressure.Put it all together and we go deep in the tourney.

  17. If it isn't obvious to you..."Survive the tourney" = "Win the Championship".....do you need that much help? LMAO