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Haase’s squad drops sixth straight
The Blazers have been up and down all season, mostly down, but this week proved especially difficult as the UAB Men’s basketball team first lost at home to East Carolina Wednesday night 91-85, and then traveled to Houston, TX Saturday night where they were met with a similar fate, falling 66-61 to the Cougars in front of 3, 135 fans.
In the game against Eastern Carolina, the Blazers had the opportunity to prove their talent after having lost the season’s first home game to Memphis. ECU scored ten points easily before the Blazers were able to connect a shot. While ECU came out strong, UAB managed to momentarily take control of the game as they made a few shots. However, the Pirates never let up, edging past the Blazers by three points to close out the first half 41-38.
Rod Rucker put on a dazzling performance Wednesday night scoring 18 of his 20 points in the second half allowing the Blazers to once again temporarily take the lead. The Blazers fell short of pulling off a comeback, shooting 43.8 percent from the field. ECU, on the other hand, shot 55.2 percent during the game, and 17 of 23 shots were from the foul line. The Blazers were 4-for-6 from the line.
The sheer number of trips to the foul line tends to shed some light on just one of the problems the Blazers have been plagued with this season. Although four Blazers scored double digits during the game, winning is difficult with a low percentage and when the opponent is given the opportunity to make many free shots.
The Blazers had aimed to end their losing streak on the road, and also gain back their at-home edge. With loses piling up, their is a decline in morale amongst players and fans.
The Blazers have won only one away game this season. They were hoping to add to Houston’s four game losing streak. However, the Cougars outplayed the Blazers that Saturday night.
The saddest stat from the game against Houston was the Cougar’s shooting percentage at 45.3 percent, just under UAB’s 47.1 percent. Once again, the Blazers were 5-6 from the free-throw line. Moreover, the Cougars were 11-13, meaning that they made more trips to the “free points” line. The “free points” ultimately made the difference in the game, and helped the Cougar’s improve to 13-6, 2-4 as UAB fell to 8-12, 0-5.
Jordan Swing led the Blazers with 20 points and seven assists Saturday. Swing’s most memorable shot of the night was a three-pointer that brought the Blazers within one point from the 62-61 lead with only 11 seconds left on the clock. However, two of Houston’s players made a pair of free-throws with just a few seconds remaining in the game. This widened the Cougars lead by five a points by the time the game was over. The loss left the Blazers with much to consider on the long trip back to Birmingham.
“I am proud of our guys,” head coach Jerod Haase said. “We are going through a really tough stretch right now. Due to some fatigue, sometimes we do not execute on both ends of the floor as well as we need to. However, we need to do better.”
The Blazers have a lot of ball left to play this season, and thus all hope is not yet lost. As there is still time for coach Haase and his staff to turn things around. The Blazers will play at home this week hosting UTEP Wednesday night, just before a televised game against Southern Miss on Saturday February 2. Both games tip off at 7PM at Bartow Arena.
Senior Staff Writer