March 4, 2006
BIRMINGHAM, Ala, (AP) - Marvett McDonald scored 17 points as UAB closed the regular season with an 82-61 victory over Marshall on Saturday night. With UAB's win and UTEP's loss to UCF, UAB wrapped up the No. 2 seed in next week's Conference USA tournament in Memphis.
"I thought we were emotionally spent in the Memphis game," UAB head coach Mike Anderson said, referring to Thursday night's 80-74 upset of No. 3 Memphis. "My concern was we would come out flat with the nerves going and it being emotional with senior night, families are here and the distractions. It didn't surprise me on our first possession we turned it over, but we regained our composure and made some shots early on, which energized our defense."
UAB (22-5, 12-2 C-USA) got 10 points from Manurice Gibbs and 10 assists from Carldell "Squeaky" Johnson. Tre Whitted scored 15 points and Mark Patton added 13 for Marshall (12-15, 5-9).
The Thundering Herd had won three of its previous four games. But McDonald hit two early 3-pointers and Johnson added a jumper to get UAB off to an 8-3 lead. The Blazers never trailed and led 42-25 at the half.
UAB's biggest margin was 22 points at 74-52. The Blazers shot 50 percent from the field, and coach Mike Anderson cleared his bench with 12 players scoring.
The game was the final home regular season contest for seven seniors credited with UAB's resurgence as a nationally-prominent college basketball program. Demario Eddins, who went out for the year with a torn Achilles tendon on Jan. 2, Johnson, McDonald, Derrick Broom, Richard Jones, Brandon Tobias and Reed Davis were honored in pregame ceremonies.
Aside from the injured Eddins, who was visibly emotional during the senior recognition, all six seniors scored for the Blazers. Broom scored eight points while Johnson, Tobias and Jones scored seven points each. Davis, a walk-on from Birmingham, had a steal, drew a foul and went 1-for-2 from the free-throw line in the closing minutes to electrify the Bartow Arena crowd one last time.
The victory matched UAB's high in wins under Mike Anderson with 22, which the Blazers have recorded each of the last three years. The five losses tie the 1981-82 Elite Eight squad for the fewest in a regular season for a UAB team.
UAB receives a first round bye in the C-USA tournament. The Blazers will open play on Thursday against the winner of Wednesday's game between Rice and SMU. Tickets for the noon CT contest, which will air live on CSTV, are available by contacting the UAB ticket office at (205) 975-UAB1 or visiting the UAB athletic website at www.uabsports.com.