Mike Moser, Chris Babb

No. 21 UNLV beats Cal, 76-75, but loses Mike Moser to a dislocated right elbow

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The last thing UNLV needed in the weeks before they begin Mountain West was to lose one of their best players to an injury.

But that’s exactly what happened in the first half of their game at California on Sunday, as junior forward Mike Moser left the game with a dislocated right elbow.

Moser suffered the injury diving for a loose ball, and this was his first game back after sitting out Tuesday’s win at Portland due to a hip flexor.

With Moser out of the lineup even more was asked of freshman Anthony Bennett and the Canadian stepped up, scoring 13 points and grabbing eight rebounds in the first half. Bennett would finish the game with 25 points and 13 rebounds but it was senior Quintrell Thomas who made the difference, as his put back with 1.2 seconds remaining gave the Rebels a 76-75 victory in Berkeley.

UNLV shot just 5-of-17 from beyond the arc but their 37-25 edge on the glass (with 14 offensive rebounds) and 32-18 points in the paint advantage kept them afloat down the stretch.

Bryce Dejean-Jones, who entered Sunday’s game mired in a shooting slump, scored 22 points (7-of-11 FG) and Anthony Marshall added 13.

Allen Crabbe led four Golden Bears in double figures with 18 points but California did themselves in at the foul line. Cal shot 52.8% from the field but made just 15 of their 28 free throws, and with UNLV shooting as they did from the perimeter a better performance from the charity stripe likely would have given Cal the win.

Moser’s absence will mean more responsibility for Bennett, senior guard Justin Hawkins and freshman forward Savon Goodman, and that will remain the case when Pitt transfer Khem Birch becomes eligible at the end of the semester.

Bennett’s physical tools make him a tough match-up for any opponent and that will help with Moser out of the lineup, but a team regardless of its talent doesn’t simply replace a player the caliber of Moser.

UNLV has four games to play before they visit No. 20 North Carolina on December 29, which will give head coach Dave Rice the opportunity to tinker with his rotation with Moser sidelined.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: A Big 12 and a Big Ten showdown

Denzel Valentine
(AP Photo/Al Goldis)
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 10 West Virginia at No. 6 Kansas, 7:00 p.m.

The last time these two teams got together, West Virginia actually knocked off Kansas in Morgantown. It was the third time in the last three seasons that WVU has beaten KU at home. So there’s some revenge at stake here. But there’s also the whole Big 12 title race, which West Virginia currently leads. If the Mountaineers win tonight, they’ll be up by two games on Kansas with the tie breaker and just seven games left to play. The Jayhawks regular season title streak could be over if that happens.

THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 8 Michigan State at No. 18 Purdue, 7:00 p.m.

We think the Spartans are back to their early season form after wins over Maryland (at home), Northwestern, Rutgers and Michigan. If Michigan State really wants to prove something to the college basketball world, they will go into West Lafayette tonight and get a win. Denzel Valentine vs. Raphael Davis will be fun.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR

  1. Pitt will pay a visit to No. 12 Miami in a game the Panthers could really use a win in. Pitt hasn’t been the most consistent team in the country and without adding a few quality wins they could be looking at the bubble.
  2. Duquesne will be paying a visit to No. 19 Dayton, who moved into a tie for first place in the Atlantic 10 thanks to VCU’s loss on Saturday.
  3. Georgia is right there on the bubble, and they will have a chance to try and push themselves into a better spot when they play at No. 22 Kentucky tonight.
  4. Creighton probably has to win out to have a shot of making the NCAA tournament, and that includes tonight, when they host No. 5 Xavier.
  5. No. 7 Virginia will be hosting Virginia Tech, who picked off the Wahoos in Blacksburg earlier this year.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 1 Villanova at DePaul, 8:30 p.m.
  • No. 25 Wichita State at Drake, 8:00 p.m.

 

PLAYER OF THE YEAR POWER RANKINGS: Buddy Hield isn’t going anywhere

Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) drives to the basket as LSU guard Antonio Blakeney (2) defends in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)
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It’s Tuesday, which means that it is once again time for the NBC Sports Player of the Year Power Rankings.

And you’ll be shocked to find out that Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield is still No. 1 in those rankings. By a pretty wide margin.

The rest of the top 10?

They can be found here, at the CBT FaceBook page. Follow that page for the countdown: