Southern Miss Holds Off Blazers, 79-75

Jodan Swing finished with a team-best 17 points

Feb. 2, 2013

Box Score Get Acrobat ReaderBox Score | Photo Gallery

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ---- The UAB men's basketball team pulled within a basket with just over a minute to play, but Southern Miss hung on to defeat the Blazers, 79-75, on Saturday night at Bartow Arena.

UAB (9-13, 1-6 C-USA) had the Golden Eagles on the ropes in the second half, cutting what was one time a 12-point second half lead, down to two points, when Robert Williams buried a 3-pointer from the wing with 1:09 to play.

After USM (18-4, 7-0) built its lead back up to six on a Michael Craig basket and a pair of free throws from Neil Watson, Quincy Taylor buried the last of his career-high five 3-pointers, bringing the Blazers within three points with seven seconds left.

Jonathan Mills hit the back end of two free throws to put the Golden Eagles up four to claim the victory.

The duo of Jordan Swing and Taylor combined for 32 points off the bench. Swing finished with 17 on 6-of-12 shooting, while Taylor added a season-high 15 and dished out five assists.

Robert Williams chipped in with 14 points, six rebounds and four assists, while Fahro Alihodzic and Preston Purifoy added 12 and 10 points, respectively.

"I am really proud of my team," head coach Jerod Haase said.  "UAB fans are very knowledgeable, and I think that they would say that they saw our team really competing hard tonight. Obviously tonight ended with a lost, but our effort was tremendous. We did a good job on offense getting good shots throughout the game. I thought that our defensive effort was there. Southern Miss really made a lot of plays offensively. It is going to be hard for anyone to beat them when they shoot 64 percent from the field."

The Blazers fell behind early when USM reeled off seven straight points capped by a Jerrold Brooks three to take an early 7-2 lead. Williams scored the next five points for UAB followed by a Purifoy three to close the deficit to two, 12-10.

The Golden Eagles responded with a 12-2 run highlighted by back-to-back treys by Neil Watson and Dwayne Davis.

Trailing by as many as 13 in the first half, Quincy Taylor drained a pair of 3-pointers late to bring the Blazers within seven points heading into halftime.

Watson scored the first 11 points for USM in the second half to push the Golden Eagles lead back out to double digits. After UAB had cut the USM lead to four, the Golden Eagles came back with seven straight to extend the lead to 56-45.

Jordan Swing hit two jumpers from behind the arc and the Blazers made eight straight from the free throw line to climb back to within four with six minutes remaining.

The Blazers stayed within striking distance the rest of the way as USM never held more than a six-point edge in the final six minutes of action.  However, the Golden Eagles continued to make shots all night, finishing with a team shooting percentage of 63.8 (30-for-47) to pull out the victory.

USM was led by Watson's 24 points, going a perfect 7-for-7 from the field, including 6-of-6 from downtown. 

Craig was a rebound shy of a double-double, finishing with 16 points and nine boards, while Brooks added 16 points of his own.

The Blazers forced 19 USM turnovers and went 17-for-21 at the foul line (81.0 percent).

UAB hits the road for its next game, heading to Tulsa, Okla. to take on the Golden Hurricane on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. CT.