Frank Holmes grabs a rebound away from Southern Mississippi forward Mildon Ambres during the first half.
HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) - Marvett McDonald scored 20 points to lead UAB to an 87-50 romp of Southern Mississippi on Saturday. The Blazers (19-5, 9-2 Conference USA) won their third straight conference game and their 15th in 17 contests. Southern Miss (8-18, 2-9) has lost three in a row and nine of its last 10.
Wen Mukubu chipped in 12 for UAB and Squeaky Johnson added eight assists with four steals and no turnovers. David Cornwell was the only Southern Miss player in double digits with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
"When you've been in the business this long, you never know what to expect from game to game," UAB head coach Mike Anderson said. "But I thought that our guys came in with a focused mindset which was especially focused on playing defense. We played Southern Miss earlier in the year, and one thing about them was that they wouldn't go away, which is a tribute to (Southern Miss) Coach (Larry) Eustachy. For the game, we shot the ball well and our defense was solid for 40 minutes."
"We view each game as a big game, taking no team for granted," McDonald said after his best shooting performance since going 7-of-14 from the field and 6-of-12 from three-point range for 22 points against Rice on Jan. 18 - one month ago to the day. "We played them just as hard as Duke or anyone else."
McDonald was 7-of-15 from the floor and 6-of-9 from downtown in the win.
The Blazers took command early, making five 3-pointers in the first 10 minutes for a 26-12 lead. UAB shot 60 percent in the first half making 15-of-25. UAB led 43-24 at the half. The Golden Eagles made just six baskets in the first half and shot only 25 percent from the field. UAB made as many shots from 3-point range (six) in the first half as Southern Miss could manage to hit from the field.
UAB, which watched a 14-point second-half leads slip to just two in its last outing, an 87-82 win over Tulane in Birmingham Wednesday, responded in the second half with the finish Anderson was looking for.
The Blazers matched their 6-of-11 three-point shooting from the first frame and shot 53.8 percent from the floor after halftime. The 19-point margin at the break was extended to 27 in a span of just four minutes after a pair of McDonald threes and jumpers by Lawrence Kinnard and Frank Holmes made it 53-26 with 16:06 to play.
The Blazers didn't let up, pushing the lead to 29 at the 10-minute mark, then 40 with 5:43 to go when freshman reserve Roderick Ollie trained a three to make it 78-38. The Blazers led by as many as 42 points on three separate occasions down the stretch.
"They are really good," Eustachy said. "They are an NCAA Tournament team, and we're not nearly there as a team. I thought we could have been in this game and could have played with them, but we obviously didn't."
Maurice Gibbs and Paul Delaney each scored nine for the Blazers. Kinnard and Brandon Tobias both set season-highs with three blocked shots each to help UAB frustrate the Golden Eagles into 28.6 percent field goal shooting.
The 37-point victory was the largest for UAB since a 39-point margin in an 86-47 win over USF on Jan. 20, 2004. That year's Blazer team upset Washington and Kentucky and played in the 2004 NCAA Sweet 16.
UAB has a six-day break before visiting new Conference USA member SMU on Saturday, Feb. 25. That game tips at 7 p.m. CT in Dallas, Texas.