Men’s basketball fall short in OT, fall to 0-1 in C-USA

By on January 12, 2014
Photo by Sarah Adkins

The Blazers headed to Murfeesboro, Tennessee, searching for their opening win and a little bit of pay back against MTSU, who beat UAB last year by twenty points in Murphy Center.

Both teams were sloppy to start, and a back and forth game ensued for the first half with the lead changing hands 8 times in the first twenty minutes of action.

Junior forward C.J. Washington was big in the first half scoring 10 points and grabbing 4 rebounds to aid the Green and Gold as they went into half down by 4, 36-32.

The second half, the Blazers were a bit late coming out of the locker room, playing sloppy basketball, making bad decisions, turning the ball over and allowed too much space for the Blue Raider shooters.  MTSU opened up a 13 point lead in the first 7 minutes of the second stanza.

With momentum, the crowd behind them, the Blue Raiders were poised to run away with their inaugural game in the C-USA. The Blazers continued to battle, and consistently made strides and stops cutting into the lead.

With about two minutes left, senior Rod Rucker sank a layup to cut the deficit to a single basket.

MTSU responded with a timely possession that took 33 seconds off the clock as senior guard Tweety Knight, who was playing with four fouls, cut into the lane and sank a layup as the shot clock was dwindling. That brought the lead back to four.

UAB responded with an ugly possession that included a bounce pass to Rucker that went through his legs. Fortunately for the Blazers, it went right to Washington who was next to the basket for an uncontested layup.

MTSU once again tried to milk the clock but due to solid ball pressure by freshman Denzell Watts, Middle Tennessee State made an a poor pass that was cut off by senior Robert Williams.  He took it coast to coast but was hacked before he was able to sink the layup.

With the deficit still at 2, the red-shirt senior and team captain stepped up and sank both clutch free throws to tie the game, capping off a 9-2 run to send the game into overtime.

The Blazers however did not perform well in the overtime period, allowing MTSU to get too many good looks close to the basket.

UAB falls in their opening conference game 89-84 in an overtime thriller.

UAB needs to find ways to limit turnovers.  With 22 the giveaways, that doubled the number by the Blue Raiders.  It is hard to compensate when you are giving away that many possessions.  UAB played most of the game with two point guard set to get good ball handlers in the game, yet there were still a bevy of bad passes, and poor decisions that have plagued the Blazers in all four of their losses.

Facing one of the top rebounding teams in the conference, the Blazers once again cemented their dominance on the glass, holding a 5 rebound advantage 36-31, however the Blue Raiders grabbed 2 more offensive rebounds then UAB.

One reason the Blazer didn’t out rebound MTSU by an even greater margin is due in part to the fact the 6’10 senior Fahro Alihodzic had to sit much of the game due to foul trouble.  He picked up two fouls in the opening three minutes of action. Which forced head coach Jerod Haase to either go small or play freshman Tosin Mehinti for long stretches.

UAB will be in action twice at home this week, against UTSA Thursday, January 16 at 7 pm, and UTEP Saturday, January 18 at 7 pm.  It is quick turnaround, but fortunately both games are at home, as UAB will hope to pick up two wins in conference against two teams who are a combined 3-1 in conference this season and 17-15 on the year.

 

MVP: Chad Frazier.

He was everywhere for the Blazers.  The 6’4 JUCO scored 28 points going 11-14, 5-8 from beyond the arc.  He added 2 steals, 2 assists, and 2 rebounds.  He has shown off his ability to score that basketball all season in a variety of ways, as he ranks third among all JUCO transfers in the NCAA in points per game.  His only blemish was the 6 turnovers.

Honorable mention: CJ Washington.

After starting the year off on fire, he went through a bit of a slump but has turned things around and had another strong effort against the Blue Raiders.  He finished just two rebounds shy of another double-double.

X-Factor: Tosin Mehinti.

The freshman stepped in and played big minutes in his first conference game.  He played 16 minutes. The big man scored 10 points on 4-5 shooting sinking both of his free throw attempts.  His defense was invaluable against the bigs of MTSU.  He only grabbed 4 rebounds, but that is due to him being playing solid defense challenging shots around the rim.

Glaring stat of the night: 22 turnovers.

That is 22 possessions given away.  The Blazers shot 60% from the field, out rebounded MTSU, shot 45% from beyond the arc, but it is hard to overcome 22 giveaways.  That is 11 more than the Blue Raiders. Seven of the turnovers were by the two point guards and ten were by seniors. The Blazers need better ball security.

Honorable mention: 17-26, 65%.

That is 9 points left at the line, UAB had been shooting well from the charity stripe all season, but struggled at times tonight.

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About Tripp Larsen

I am life long Blazer fan, who wishes the best for the program. I am 22 year old psychology major. If you have any comments or arguments feel free to comment, or send me an email at sports@insideuab.com. Writers are wanted so if you want to become a member of the staff send an email or come down to the student media office.
 
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