Blazers Top Virginia Commonwealth 68-62

Jan. 2, 2006

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Squeaky Johnson tied his career-high with 16 points and completed four free throws in the final 17 seconds to lead UAB to a 68-62 victory over Virginia Commonwealth on Monday night.

UAB (9-3) lead 39-30 at the half and had chances to put the game out of reach, but the Blazers were 12-of-25 from the free throw line and VCU gradually fought its way back.

The loss ended a six-game winning streak for the Rams (8-3) and extended UAB's win streak to five games.

"We made some plays and got some stops despite all the adversity with Demario (Eddins) going down," UAB head coach Mike Anderson said. "It was a good win over a good VCU team."

UAB led 55-51 when Demario Eddins injured his ankle with 6:27 left to play and Virginia Commonwealth took a 56-55 lead on a shot by Jesse Pellot-Rosa. Paul Delaney scored to put UAB up 57-56 before a free throw by Pellot-Rosa tied it at 57.

Brandon Tobias hit two free throws to give UAB a 59-57 lead and the Blazers stayed in front the rest of the way with scores from Wen Mukubu and Johnson's four charity tosses.

"UAB is a very good team, they're well coached and they play a style that you just don't see," VCU head coach Jeff Capel said. "It's hard to prepare for them because of that. I thought we did a good job getting prepared for it, and I thought we played well. We put ourselves in a position to win the game, we just didn't come through."

Marvett McDonald, just hours after earning Conference USA Player of the Week honors, scored 15 points and Johnson had seven assists for the Blazers.



B.A. Walker scored 20 points to lead VCU. Nick George had 18 points and eight rebounds and Pellot-Rosa had 12 points and nine rebounds for the Rams.

Eddins, UAB's second-leading scorer and a four-year starter, was preliminarily diagnosed with a torn right Achilles' tendon according to Anderson, but Eddins will be further examined by team doctors on Tuesday.

"We have a chance to be a pretty good basketball team but we need someone to step up," Anderson said. "We should find out more tomorrow about Demario and we hope everyone keeps him in their prayers."

UAB returns to action on Thursday night in its final non-conference contest of the season when NCAA Division II member Valdosta State comes to Bartow Arena. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. CT.