March 14, 2013
TULSA, Okla. (AP) - Rod Rucker posted his seventh 20-plus point outing of the season, but guards Neil Watson and Dwayne Davis led Southern Miss past the UAB men's basketball team on Thursday in the Conference USA Quarterfinals at the BOK Center.
UAB concluded the season at 16-17, as the Golden Eagles (24-8) advanced to the conference semifinals.
“Obviously we’re extremely disappointed in the game and the outcome of the game. Overall, I’ve been very, very excited about this team and proud of this team from start to finish and we’ve come a long way," head coach Jerod Haase said. "But the game itself, offensively, we did some nice things. We were able to move the basketball and do so some things against that zone that other teams can’t do because of our personnel, but on the defensive end we struggled mightily. We couldn’t guard them in man to man, couldn’t guar them in the zone, we couldn’t box out and their ability to shoot the basketball and score in a variety of ways proved to be too much.”
Rucker went 9-for-14 from the field and added seven rebounds. Preston Purifoy came off the bench and netted 10 points, while Jordan Swing chipped in with nine.
USM's Watson finished with a game-high 23 points, 19 in the first half, while Davis poured in 20, as both players shot 7-of-11 from the field.
Southern Miss shot 53 percent and led 40-26 at halftime.
In the second half, the Blazers would pull within seven, 48-41, with 13:40 left on a Quincy Taylor 3-pointer. However, Davis made a jumper to put the Golden Eagles back up by double digits and would hold on the rest of the way.