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.

Boise State loses guard Harwell to torn ACL

Leon Rice
Associated Press
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Expected to be one of the favorites in the Mountain West this season, Boise State’s perimeter ranks have shrunk by one player due to injury. Thursday it was reported by the Idaho Statesman that freshman guard Malek Harwell will redshirt after suffering a torn ACL in practice. Along with fellow freshman Paris Austin, Harwell is expected to be a key part of the Broncos’ future beyond the upcoming season.

Now, instead of competing with an experienced backcourt that includes four redshirt seniors, Harwell will work to get his knee back to full strength for the 2016-17 season.

Among the guards who will play significant minutes this season are Anthony Drmic, who took a medical redshirt last season, Montigo Alford, Mikey Thompson and grad transfer Lonnie Jackson (Boston College). Chandler Hutchison, who started in Boise State’s final 18 games of the 2014-15 season as a freshman, will also compete for playing time.

Knee injury sidelines Illinois forward Leron Black

Josh Hart, Leron Black
Associated Press
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Illinois will be shorthanded in its front court for the time being, as during the team’s media day Thursday head coach John Groce announced that sophomore forward Leron Black is out due to injury.

Black will undergo surgery Friday to repair a meniscus tear in his knee, and he’s expected to miss anywhere from four to six weeks. A return after four weeks would have Black back on the court just before the Fighting Illini open their season November 13 against North Florida. Any longer and the Memphis native would wind up missing some game action.

Black averaged 5.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in just under 15 minutes of action per game as a freshman. He’s one of the players expected to contribute in the front court for the Fighting Illini, who lost their best interior defender and second-leading rebounder in Nnanna Egwu at the end of last season (guard Rayvonte Rice, who led the team in rebounding, is also gone).

In addition to Black and junior Maverick Morgan, Illinois adds redshirt freshman Michael Finke and grad student Mike Thorne Jr. (via Charlotte) to their front court rotation.