Feb. 9, 2013
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Rod Rucker posted his ninth double-double of the season and three other Blazers scored in double figures as the UAB men's basketball team defeated Marshall, 75-61, on Saturday afternoon at Bartow Arena.
UAB improves to 11-13 overall and has won three of its last four Conference USA contests to sit at 3-6 in the league.
The Thundering Herd falls to 10-14 and 3-6 in conference play.
Rucker finished with a team-best 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting, along with 10 rebounds and six assists en route to his team-best ninth double-double of the season.
Preston Purifoy poured in 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting and Jordan Swing (13) and Robert Williams (12) each reached double digits for the Blazers.
Fahro Alihodzic chipped in with eight points and a career-high nine rebounds.
"Our guys competed really well today and stay focused," head coach Jerod Haase said. "We got really sloppy in the last few minutes of the game, but that is something we can learn and grow from.
"I am really pleased with our shot selection throughout the game. I think we did a good job with our defensive intensity, and we got some good stops. We talked about the need for all of our guys to get on the offensive and defensive boards before the game, and we did just that."
Three of the Blazers' first four field goals came from behind the arc as UAB jumped out to the early 12-6 lead over Marshall.
With UAB leading 19-10, DeAndre Kane made a pair of jumpers and Elijah Pittman nailed a 3 for the Herd to pull Marshall within two before Alihodzic grabbed an offensive board and laid it in to end the Herd's 7-0 run.
Late in the half, UAB went on a 16-3 scoring burst to take a 35-20 lead. The run was highlighted by stingy defensive play by the Blazers that held Marshall without a field goal for over eight minutes of action.
Williams hit his third 3-pointer of the first half for the Blazers with 26 seconds to remaining to put UAB up 16 before Marshall's Dennis Tinnon knocked in a trey from the corner just before the buzzer to make it 38-25 at intermission.
Game action went back-and-forth to start the second half before a Purifoy 3-pointer at the 14:58 mark sparked an 8-0 run for UAB.
Rucker and Purifoy combined to score 20 of the Blazers' first 23 points over the opening 10 minutes of the second half to help maintain a 16-point lead for UAB.
Trailing by 20, Marshall made a late charge when Pittman capped a personal 9-0 run with back-to-back dunks and a three to bring the Herd within 11 points, 72-61, with 2:59 to play. Swing nailed a 3 on the next possession for UAB to put an end to any hopes that Marshall had of making a comeback.
UAB out-rebounded the Herd, 37 to 29, and made 9-of-15 3-pointers on the afternoon.
Marshall was led by Kane's 23 points and Nigel Spikes chipped in with six points, 10 rebounds and four blocks.
The Blazers hit the road for their next contest, playing in Greenville, N.C., on Wednesday against East Carolina. Game time is set for 6 p.m. CT.