Just call them the UNLV Resilient Rebels.
For the second time in four nights, the 12th-ranked Runnin’ Rebels needed to rally to force overtime, then used a key 3-pointer by guard Oscar Bellfield and another All-American-caliber effort by forward Mike Moser to pull out a tough road victory, this time 65-63 at Air Force.
Moser, still battling the flu, finished with his 12th double-double of the season, scoring 27 points and grabbing 12 rebounds to go along with 3 steals, including one very big one of an inbounds pass late in overtime.
Bellfield, just as he had done three nights earlier in a 77-72 overtime victory at Boise State, hit a key 3-pointer in overtime. This one came with 2:28 to go that broke a 61-61 tie and proved to be the game-winner.
The Rebels (20-3, 4-1), who moved back into a tie for first place in the Mountain West Conference with San Diego State, a 77-60 loser earlier Saturday at Colorado State, needed a steal by forward Chace Stanback with two seconds left to seal the turnover-plagued win.
“I’m so proud of our guys,” UNLV coach Dave Rice said. “We didn’t have our best stuff again but two overtime road games this week and two wins. We’ve got to go get better but our resolve … the resiliency of our seniors to find ways to make huge plays when everything was going against us … (just) really proud of our guys.”
Much like the Boise State game, UNLV jumped came out sizzling offensively, connecting on 9 of its first 11 shots en route to an early-double-digit lead. And also like the Wednesday night contest against the Broncos, the Rebels stagnated on offense, committing 15 turnovers while again settling for 3-pointers (8-of-26, 30.8 percent). But Moser, who had 18 points and 21 points at Boise, and Bellfield combined to help pull it out at the end.
“It was definitely déjà vu,” Moser said.
“We try to downplay it a little bit just in terms of the team but the obvious thing is that Mike Moser is a terrific basketball player, and we go as he goes,” Rice said. “But we got key contributions from so many key guys. Kendall Wallace came in and hit a huge 3, Quintrell Thomas gave us valuable minutes, Brice Massamba before he fouled out. Everything about us is team. We’re getting better. We’ve got to go home and regroup and get ready for a very tough Colorado State team on Wednesday.”
Although he struggled offensively (2 points, 1 of 10 from the field), the Rebels also still got a big game from Stanback who led the team with 4 steals, including the game-clincher on Air Force’s final possession in overtime, 6 rebounds and 4 assists.
Air Force (11-8, 1-4), which fell to 1-74 all-time in games against ranked opponents, was led by all-MWC guard Michael Lyons who finished with 25 points including 6-of-11 3-pointers.
— Mylvsports.com staff report