As much fun as UNLV’s season-opening 92-54 blowout of Northern Arizona was last Monday night, one stat seemed to jump off the page.
Mike Moser: 2 points.
The first team all-Mountain West pick routinely picked up double-doubles during the 2011-12 campaign while averaging 14.0 points and 10.5 rebounds per game.
So for the 6-foot-8, 210-pound junior to finish with just two points and one field goal in 24 minutes in a game the Rebels topped the 90-point plateau was a head-scratcher.
But Moser was back to his old self during Saturday night’s 77-58 over Jacksonville State at the Thomas & Mack, producing game-highs in points (19) and rebounds (10) while also dishing off four assists.
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“Mike played with the same intensity in both games,” UNLV coach Dave Rice said. “The opportunities just presented themselves in this particular game.”
As Rice pointed out, with talented newcomers like Anthony Bennett, Bryce Dejean-Jones and Katin Reinhardt joining veterans like Anthony Marshall, Justin Hawkins, Quintrell Thomas and Carlos Lopez-Sosa, Moser – as talented as he is – isn’t going to need to carry the load every game this season.
“Mike’s attitude was terrific in Game 1,” Rice said. “He had only two points but (grabbed) 11 rebounds. He practiced extremely hard, and I think he set a great example for our guys. He comes into this game and (gets) 19 points and 10 rebounds. And it all speaks to his leadership and maturity as a player. I just could not be more prouder of the game he played, and I was just as proud of him in the first game when he scored two points.
“It’s what we need to be,” Rice continued. “We’ve got to be a team that plays with no agenda, other than the agenda that we are going to do what we have to do to have the team win.”
Saturday night that was playing tough defense for 30 to 35 seconds at a clip against a Jacksonville State (3-1) team that wanted to frustrate the Rebels (2-0) with a slow tempo.
The Rebels responded by putting the clamps down on the Gamecocks, holding them to just 38.9 percent shooting for the game and 14 first half points en route to a 32-14 halftime lead.
UNLV dominated the boards, finishing with a 41-24 edge and a 19-8 advantage in second chance points. That made up for an unusually sloppy 19 turnovers for Rice’s squad.
Five Rebels finished with five players in double figures. Besides Moser’s 19 points, Hawkins had 16 points, Bennett just missed a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds, and Marshall and Reinhardt finished with 11 apiece.
The Rebels are off now until Friday at 6 p.m. when they face Oregon in the first round of the Global Sports Classic at the Thomas & Mack.