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February 1, 2012UAB went off for 50 points in the first half and held off a tough Houston comeback attempt to take an 80 - 69 win Wednesday night at Bartow Arena. The win was the Blazers first home win since conference play began.
Cameron Moore and b>Ovie Soko both registered double - doubles. Moore led all scorers with 25 points. He also grabbed 13 boards. Soko had 15 points and 11 rebounds. Preston Purifoy had 15 points and Quincy Taylor knocked down 12. TaShawn Thomas pulled a double- double for the Cougars with 16 points and 14 rebounds. Alandise Harris and Jonathan Simmons led Houston with 17 points each. Joseph Young chipped in 11 points.
UAB led by as many as 21 in the first half but the Blazers had to fight to maintain the lead. Houston pulled to within six with 5:39 remaining and it looked like the Blazers were about to fold again. But this time they made a stand. "We haven't closed all year," said UAB coach Mike Davis. We got some rebounds and made some stops. Preston made a big three and gave us a cushion - but we gave up 69 points and we can't give up 69 points."
The Blazers came out and showed a lot of energy and intensity in the first half. Robert Williams chased a couple of rebounds down to keep the Cougars from chances at second chance points. "The rebounds early set the tone," Davis said. "Those didn't come to him they were loose balls he went and got."
UAB was on fire the first half hitting 53% from the field and 61% of their three pointers. They also hit 80% from the foul line. For the game the Blazers finished with 48% from the field, 56% from behind the arc and 71% from the line. Houston won the rebounding battle by one 37-36. UAB had 15 assists and only nine turnovers. The Cougars had 11 assists and turned the ball over 12 times.
The smile on Davis face showed how happy he was with the win and especially the Blazers first half effort. "It feels good to have a good first half," he said. "We struggle to give good effort. Good effort brings out talent. We have to build on that and put two good halves together in one game."
"We just can't get to the next game and think we've got it figured out. You don't have it figured out if you don't give good effort. We don't have the talent to take off."
UAB improves to 8-13 for the season and 3-5 in C-USA. Houston dropped to 11-10 and 3-5 in C-USA. The Blazers travel to El Paso Saturday night to take on UTEP before returning home to face C-USA leader Southern Miss the following Wednesday.