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Men’s basketball drops season finale, falling to UCF
Sour ends to regular season basketball
UAB went into Saturday’s matchup against UCF hoping to continue their four game winning streak, reach payback for one of their home losses and clinch a first day bye in the conference tournament.
UCF had its own agenda, trying to clinch a first round bye themselves, as well as bounce back from an embarrassing loss to Memphis earlier in the week.
The Blazers were in a pickle late in the game, down 18 points with just over 5 minutes remaining when Jordan Swing, a redshirt sophomore from here in Birmingham, nailed a 3-point jumper that seemed to ignite the Blazers. The downtown dragons used the spark created by Swing to go on a 14-3 run to bring them to just a 7 point deficit at 68-61 with 1:14 remaining.
The 7 point deficit was too high of mountain for the men’s basketball team to climb, as they would fall to the Black Knights 71-63.
Jordan Swing played well in the loss, scoring 17 points, 10 in the final 5 minutes and grabbing 6 rebounds. Cameron Moore didn’t play to his normal standards but came one rebound short of a double-double going for 13 points 9 boards.
The Blazers lost more than just the game. Sophomore point guard Quincy Taylor and Coach Davis alluded after the game that Taylor most likely tore his ACL, injuring his knee with 7 minutes left in the game, which would put him out for the rest of the season. Taylor was playing well before his early departure, accumulating 13 points on 5-8 shooting including 3-5 from beyond the arc, while not turning the ball over a single time in his 29 minutes.
UAB’s play for a first round bye came out flat, not playing hard on the defensive end and giving up 10 three pointers in the first half, which led to a 20-point deficit at half for the Birmingham team.
“It was just one of those nights that we didn’t want to play basketball,” said head coach Mike Davis. “It’s all on me. I told our guys it had everything to do with me as a coach, not getting them ready and not making sure they were prepared to play.”
UAB, who fell into the 5th seed in C-USA, will be playing on Wednesday against Tulane, the number 12 seed in the tournament. On Thursday, their only meeting this season, UAB beat the Green Wave 81-72 in Bartow Arena. The Blazers will have the opportunity to take another shot at the Golden Hurricanes and will be on a collision course with rival Memphis in the semi-finals on Friday.
Cameron Moore will need to continue to put up double-double if the Blazers hope to have a chance to win.
Some huge questions going into the tournament are: how injured is Quincy Taylor? If he is out, who will fill the void? Jekore Tyler will need to come in and play consistently, no turnover basketball, as well as combining with possibly K.C. Whitaker to help spread the defense out on the arcs to help give Ovie Soko, Jordan Swing, and Cameron Moore driving lanes.
Another problem the Blazers face is boxing out. UAB is 2-9 when being out-rebounded. Tulsa is a tall team who crashed the board; if UAB can get past Tulane, boxing out will become a focal point for Mike Davis’ squad.
UAB is going into the post season winning 7 out of thier last 9, UAB is getting hot at the right time.
Conference tournaments have been a problem for the Mike Davis and his squad, including thier disappointing departure last seasonlosing in the quarterfinals, UAB’s first game, after clinching a first round bye and the number 1 overal seed and first out right regular season conference championship.
For up to date coverage of UAB’s men’s and women’s basketball teams throughout the conference tournament, go to studentmedia.uab.edu or uabkscope.com.
Tune in on Wednesday as UAB as they will be looking to turn things around on Wednesday.