February 9, 2013

UAB Topples Marshall, 75-61.

BARTOW ARENA - UAB's basketball team is coming together. The Blazers won their second straight game with a 75-61 win over the Thundering Herd of Marshal at Bartow Arena Saturday afternoon. Rod Rucker led the effort with a double-double - 18 points and 10 rebounds - but he had help from three others who scored in double figures.

UAB got off to a fast start, hitting 5-of-10 shots from long range, to build up a 38-25 halftime lead. Despite a number of fouls and turnovers, they kept the margin for the first five minutes of the second half - 45-32.

Over the next two minutes, UAB went on an 8-2 run that increased the lead to 53-34, prompting a Marshall timeout with 13:46 remaining. UAB eventually built up a 22-point lead with 5:23, before Marshall increased the pressure and triggered some turnovers.

Still, the Blazers held a 72-58 lead with 3:23 remaining. UAB went into a delay game after that before finishing with a 75-61 victory.

In addition to Rucker, three other Blazers scored in double figures - Preston Purifoy (15), Jordan Swing (13) and Rob Williams (12).

The Blazers were hot from the field for most of the night, particularly from three-point range. Overall, UAB hit 27-of-56 shots (48%), and connected on 9-of-16 three-point tries (56%). They did it by winning the rebound battle (37-to-29 and finding the open player, dishing out 19 assists for the game to only 11 for Marshall.

"I thought our guys competed well and stayed focused until the last eight or ten minutes," coach Jared Haase said after the game. . . . . "When we had good defensive intensity, we got stops."

'I want us to have an edge, a chip on the shoulder," Haase added, "but not make dumb plays."

Marshall's DeAndre Kane led all scorers with 323 points. Elijah Pittman added 15. Nigel Spikes led the team in rebounds with 10.

UAB improved to 11-13 overall and 3-6 in Conference USA. Marshall dropped to 10-14 overall and 3-6 in conference play.

UAB next travels to Greenville, NC to take on East Carolina - a team that defeated UAB 91-85 last month. The Blazers return to Bartow Arena next Saturday to host Rice in a 7 p.m. game.

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