December 8, 2012
Blazers Run Past South Alabama, 92-78
BARTOW ARENA - UAB had five players in double-figures as the Blazers took a 92-78 win over interstate rival South Alabama Saturday night. Jordan Swing (18 points) and Fahro Alihodzic (17) led the offensive onslaught, but they had plenty of help from Preston Purifoy (14), Robert Williams (13), and Isiah Jones (12).
UAB got off to a fast start, building up a 16-4 lead at the 14:09 mark of the first half. South Alabama picked up the pace after that, but UAB still held a 30-16 lead with 7:56 remaining in the half.
The Blazers added to the lead over the next four minutes, taking a 39-23 advantage when timeout was called at the 3:45 mark. That increased to 46-27 at halftime.
UAB kept up the heat at the start of the second half, holding a 55-33 edge at the first media timeout. They maintained the pace for the next four minutes, leading 66-42 with 11:45 remaining.
That increased to 72-45 when Jordan Swing dished a behind-the-back pass to Rod Rucker for a layup on a fast break, prompting a timeout from South Alabama. "I'm just thankful that Rod caught that," Swing said after the game.
The Jaguars went on an 11-5 run after that, cutting the margin to 77-56 with 7:54 remaining. UAB responded with a 6-3 run to push the score to 83-59 with 5:31 remaining.
South Alabama scored the next five points. Isiah Jones hit a pair of free throws to stop that run. Things got a bit sloppy after that, but UAB held on for a 92-78 win.
Forward Augustine Rubit led South Alabama with 24 points and 11 rebounds. He was joined in double-figure scoring by Xavier Roberson (18 points) and Freddie Goldstein (13).
Head coach Jerod Haase was pleased with the game. "Our mental state, particularly in the first half, was very good," he said. ". . . . We were really, really unselfish."
Haase attributed the strong play to the two days leading up to the game. "We had two fantastic practices the last two days," he said.
Alihodzic said the team was inspired after its poor performance at Middle Tennessee. "Middle Tennessee really punched us in the mouth," he said. "We came out today with a chip on our shoulder."
Guard Terrence Jones agreed. "This was a bounce-back game for the whole team," he said.
Alihodzic had his best game of the season for UAB. "My confidence hasn't been what it should be for a month," he said after the game, but his performance against the Jaguars may set a tone for future play.
The win evened the Blazers record at 5-5 for the season. The team now takes a break for final exams before traveling to New Jersey to challenge Rutgers on December 26. They return to Bartow Arena on December 20 to host Louisiana-Monroe in a 7:00 p.m. game.
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