Men’s basketball sunk by the Pirates, 74-67

By on February 2, 2014
Photo by Amber Gomez

East Carolina wrecked the Blazers hopes of moving up the conference ladder Saturday in front of the 6000 fans in attendance at Bartow arena.

Blazer coming fresh off of a win against Tulsa looked to keep the Pirates without a win conference play.

The Pirates had won four of the last five meeting against the Green and Gold, including a sweep of the two games last year. Head coach Jerod Haase said after the game, “I am disappointed we had an opportunity to get above .500 in the conference.  We were playing in front of a great crowd today.  I thought our energy and effort had some ebb and flow to it.  On the offensive end our ability to make plays wasn’t there.”

The Pirates jumped out to an early lead, 11-5.  A run by the Blazers the included three back to back 3’s and an ESPN worthy highlight helped turn the momentum in their favor.  The Blazer reached their largest lead of the game in a 24-15.  The Pirates responded with a barrage of 3’s of their own and went in to half with a 33-27 point lead.

The Blazers would never recapture the lead as a late second half run fell short.  UAB lost 74-67.  The Blazers handed the Pirates their first conference win of the season and fell to 14-7 (3-4 C-USA) on the year. “Right now it hurts.” CJ Washington said after the game.  “It hurts losing to a team that was 0-6 in conference.  Just came out flat and caught up to us in the end.”

The Blazers once again had problems finding their shot against a zone defense.  When they did get an open shot, UAB had trouble sinking them as they shot 20% from range.  The Pirates hit nine three pointers and shot 40.9% from beyond the arc. Getting to the free throw line wasn’t a good option either as they shot 57.1% from the charity stripe.  Haase continued after the game saying, “Their zone obviously caused some problems. We weren’t able to make shots from the outside.  We got it inside we were able or capable to make plays in there. As a coach it’s time to go back to the drawing board to find answers and solutions to give the guys a better game plan to be more successful against a zone.”

The Blazers played a much better second half then first, only turning the ball over 3 times adding to their 8 from the first half.  They shot 42.8% in the second half while holding the Pirates to 39.3%.

UAB once again dominated the glass, holding a 42-36 advantage.  They had 17 assists and only 11 turnovers with seven blocks and seven steals.  The Blazers played well on both sides of the ball for stretches; it just took a little too long for the Blazers to get started.

MVP: CJ Washington.

The 6-8 junior shot 10-14 totaling 25 points.  He was one rebound shy of a double-double, seven of his boards were on offensive rebounds.  He created second chances for the Blazers as well as cementing the defense in the second half.  He accrued 3 steals and his hands created havoc for the Pirate ball handlers.

X-Factor: Jordan Swing.

The Birmingham native has struggled in conference play.  His shot was once again off, as he is now zero for his last fourteen shot attempts from beyond the arc.  He only grabbed two rebounds and a single assist in 19 minutes. He was burned twice on backdoor passes.  Swing was brought off the bench to try and give him a new look to provide a spark. The Blazers will need him to pick up his game and provide better shooting to help create space and shoot teams out of the zone.

Glaring stat of the night: 5-25, 20%.

The Blazers continue to struggle from beyond the arc.  UAB sunk just two out of the fourteen shots from the perimeter in the second half.  The Pirates doubled the Blazer shot percentage shooting a little of 40%. Swing and Robert Williams will need to start shooting a better percentage from that distance to help space the floor and create driving lanes for Rod Rucker and Chad Frazier.

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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 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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