East Carolina Bests Blazers, 91-85

Rod Rucker posted 20 points and 12 rebounds for his eighth double-double of the season

Jan. 23, 2013

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ---- Rod Rucker poured in a game-high 20 points and UAB received 30 points off the bench, but East Carolina was able to pull away down the stretch to defeat the Blazers 91-85 in Conference USA men's basketball action on Wednesday night.

UAB (8-11, 0-4 C-USA) featured four players in double figures, including Jordan Swing (16) and Quincy Taylor (14), who combined for 30 bench points in the loss. Taylor's point total marked a season-high, shooting 5-for-9 overall and 4-of-5 from 3-point range. Swing added eight rebounds and three assists to his stat line.

Terence Jones also reached double-digits in points with 11, while Rucker notched his team-best eighth double-double of the season with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Rucker scored 18 of his points after intermission.

“I am proud of our guys," head coach Jerod Haase said.  "We are going through a really tough stretch right now. Due to some fatigue, sometimes we do not execute on both ends of the floor as well as we need to. However, we need to do better. We knew East Carolina had some big-time shooters, and some of the shots they made were really tough shots.”

The Pirates, which improved to 12-6 and 3-2 in the league, saw six players score 10-or-more points, led by Ty Armstrong's 18.  Point guard Maurice Paul dished out 14 assists and added 12 points as ECU shot 55.2 percent for the game.

ECU jumped out to an early 10-2 lead, but the Blazers battled right back with a 10-2 run of their own to knot the score at 12-all on a Fahro Alihodzic basket.

Trailing 14-12, Taylor scored three straight baskets totaling eight points as the Blazers held a 20-16 advantage with 10:06 remaining in the opening half.

An Armstrong layup broke a 20-20 tie at the 8:47 mark as the Pirates would hold the lead the rest of the first stanza heading into the locker room.

Down 41-35 with a hand full of seconds left, Jones buried a shot 10-feet behind the half-court line, to put the Blazers down only three points at the half.

At the start of the second stanza, Rucker put the team on his back, scoring 12 of the team's first 16 points  as the Blazers forced an ECU timeout with 14:42 left, leading 54-51.

However, the Pirates would retake the advantage, 58-56, on a Paris Campbell layup and expand their lead to double figures.

Swing nailed a jumper to pull the Blazers within four, 85-81, but UAB could get no closer, falling 91-85.

UAB shot 43.8 percent (35-for-80) overall from the floor and 42.3 percent (11-for-26) from 3-point range.

ECU connected on 17-of-23 foul shots, as the Blazers went 4-for-6 at the line.

The Blazers hit the road for their next contest, heading to the Lonestar State to take on Houston on Saturday at 5 p.m. CT.