January 12, 2013
Blazers Fall to Memphis, 69-53
BARTOW ARENA - Adonis Jackson scored 17 points and Joe Jackson added 15 as Memphis demolished UAB 69-53 Saturday night at the annual Bartow Classic. Tarik Black joined his teammates in double figures with 10 points as the Tigers easily eclipsed the Blazers in what might be the final home game for UAB between the two teams.
Memphis, which joins the Big East next season, jumped out to an early 11-2 lead. UAB played catch-up after that, gradually cutting into the Tigers' lead.
Both teams were cold from the field for much of the first period. At one point, both teams went five minutes without a field goal, and UAB went the entire period without completing a single three-point shot.
A Terrence Jones free throw cut the margin to two points, 19-17 with 4:23 remaining in the half, but Memphis responded with a 14-2 run to build the lead back to double digits - 33-19. The game was a matter of free throws after that, with Memphis going to the locker rooms with a 34-20 lead.
UAB closed the gap a little in the first four minutes of the second half, but Memphis still held a 41-28 lead with 15:59 remaining. Preston Purifoy hit a bucket with 12:04 remaining to cut the score to 45-32, but Memphis added a basket before the media timeout to move the margin back to 15 points.
Over the next 5:30, UAB managed one basket. With 7:28 remaining, Memphis had a 53-34 lead - its biggest lead of the game to that point. From there, the Tigers coasted to a 69-53 win.
Rod Rucker led UAB with 16 points. He was joined in double figures by Fahro Alihodzic with 12. Rucker also grabbed 11 rebounds to record a double-double for the contest.
UAB was cold from the field all night. The team shot only 31.6 percent for the game (18-for-57) and was even worse in the first half at 25 percent (7-of-28). The Blazers were 0-for-13 on three-point shots, the second game in a row in which they failed to sink a trey.
Jordan Swing, normally a major offensive contributor, left the game with 3:44 remaining with more fouls (5) than points (3).
"We're obviously struggling right now," coach Jerod Haase said after the game. "The commitment is excellent; the execution is just not there."
"I wish we could have provided a closer game," he added. "I think they could have helped us out a lot more if we had given them a close game."
"We've got to find a way to get it done," Purifoy said after the game.
Memphis coach Josh Pastner complimented the host team and its coach. "UAB's a good club," he said. "Jerod's done a good job with this team. They play hard. It will be haard to come in here and get a win."
UAB fell to 8-9 on the season with their third straight loss, and 0-2 in Conference USA. Memphis improved to 12-3 on the season, and 2-0 in C-USA.
UAB has a week off before traveling to Hattiesburg, MS to challenge Southern Mississippi next Saturday. The Blazers return home the following Wednesday when they host East Carolina at Bartow Arena.
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