March 13, 2013
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TULSA, Okla. (AP) - Jordan Swing scored 17 points, including a game-winning layup with nine seconds to play, as the UAB men's basketball team beat SMU, 53-52, in the opener of the Conference USA tournament on Wednesday at the BOK Center.
No. 7 seed UAB (16-16) advances to the C-USA Quarterfinals to battle No. 2 seed Southern Miss (23-8) on Thursday at Noon CT. The contest will be televised by the CBS Sports Network.
“This was an uncomfortable game and a lot people watching probably thought it was an ugly game and they couldn’t be farther from the truth," head coach Jerod Haase said. "This time of the year the common phrase is survive and advance and that’s exactly what we did. It was not the prettiest game in the world and wasn’t the prettiest game we’ve played all year. But we made enough plays down the stretch, enough hustle plays and enough team plays to get it done.
"This is a team that has been gritty for a long time now and continues to get better and find ways to win and it’s neat in our locker room for them to know they can rely on each other and trust each other to get the job done.”
Swing had a team-high nine rebounds and was 7-of-13 from the field for the game, inlcuding three 3-pointers in the first half. Rod Rucker added 11 points and six boards.
UAB was up 32-23 at halftime, thanks to shooting 6-of-12 from 3-point range, and led the entire game until Brian Bernardi hit two free throws to put the 10th-seeded Mustangs up 52-51 with 29 seconds remaining. Swing's layup put the Blazers back on top.
Nick Russell's potential gamewinner for SMU was blocked by Robert Williams in the game's closing seconds, as the Blazers advanced to the conference quarterfinals.
Jalen Jones led SMU (15-17) with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Cannen Cunningham had 11 points.
In the previous meeting between the two schools back on March 2, SMU shot 57.7 percent. On Wednesday the Mustangs were held to just 28.6 percent (14-for-49) shooting for the game.