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Blazers battling back
Things started to look good this week for the UAB Men’s Basketball team. The Blazers not only came together to overcome Tulsa on the road Wednesday night 70-63, but the Green and Gold also managed to topple Marshall 75-61 at Bartow Arena Saturday afternoon at the Mardi Gras Mayhem in front of 4,328 fans.
The Blazers have struggled on the road most of this season, but with a new starting point guard in Quincy Taylor, some defensive adjustments and aggressive play calling the Blazers are finally seeing the results they’ve been working so hard for.
On Wednesday night, the Golden Hurricanes opened the game with a small 9-7 lead, but before Tulsa realized what was going on, the Green and Gold exploded onto the court with a 30-4 point run.
The Golden Hurricanes obviously were not ready for this style of play from the Blazers as it left Tulsa scrambling for nearly 12 minutes unable to connect on a single shot.
With just under five minutes to go in the first half, the Golden Hurricanes managed to rack up 18 points to close out the first half with the Blazers leading 43-31.
“I thought our guys in the first 15 minutes of the game played our best basketball of the year,” said head coach Jerod Haase. “We were extremely unselfish. We were tuning down good shots to get great shots and we knocked them in as well. Defensively, I thought physically we were into the game and played hard and mentally we were really thinking the game on the defensive end.”
The Blazers controlled the second half of Wednesday’s contest much like the first ultimately holding Tulsa to 38.5 percent shooting from the field. Haase’s Blazers shot 54.5 percent down the line with Rod Rucker leading the Green and Gold with 17 points, followed by Quincy Taylor and Terrance Jones with 14 and 13 points respectively.
With a much needed road win behind them, the Blazers returned to Bartow Arena Saturday afternoon where they trampled Marshall’s Thundering Herd in must win situation for the Blazers. UAB opened Saturday’s game by connecting four back-to-back three-point shots. Rod Rucker was unbelievable, recording his ninth double-double of the season, finishing with 18 points, ten rebounds and six assists.
Rucker was not alone on the afternoon. Preston Purifoy put up 15 points, Jordan Swing managed to connect with 13 points, as well as Robert Williams who contributed a dozen points to the Blazers win.
“I am really pleased with our shot selection throughout the game. I think we did a good job with our defensive intensity and we got some good stops. We talked about the need for all our guys to get on the offensive and defensive boards before the game and we did just that.”
As the game went back and forth, the Blazers were able to take a commanding 20 point lead in the second half. Marshall managed to put together a late game surge but it wasn’t enough to repair the damage that had already been done.
The Blazers hit the road again this week hoping to take some of the momentum from Mardi Gras Mayhem to Greenville, N.C. where the Blazers are set to face East Carolina University on Wednesday at 6pm CST.
Senior Staff Writer