Nov. 3, 2013
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. --- Junior forward C.J. Washington scored a game-high 23 points in his Blazer debut as the UAB men's basketball team downed Milligan (Tenn.) College, 89-68, in Sunday's exhibition game at Bartow Arena.
Washington came out strong in his first contest as a Blazer, hitting 10-of-13 from the field in 23 minutes of action. Veteran center Fahro Alihodzic added 10 points, while senior guard Robert Williams scored a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
"I was really pleased with C.J.'s performance today," head coach Jerod Haase said. “He is really versatile. He has a lot of talent. He can step out to the 3-point line, can get to the free-throw line and has a good feel for the game."
Washington scored UAB's first five points and hit his first six shots to lead the Blazers in the opening minutes as UAB jumped out to an early 17-6 lead with just over 13 minutes remaining in the opening stanza.
The Buffs kept it close in the first half, using a 10-4 run to get within five -- 21-16-- at the 10 minute mark. The UAB defense then stepped up to close out the period, holding Milligan without a basket from the 7:35 to 2:32 marks as UAB held a 48-35 advantage at the break.
UAB then took control of the game in the second period, outscoring Milligan 28-10 in the paint in the final 20 minutes to build as much as a 26-point lead. The Blazers also held a 15-2 advantage in second-chance points in the final period on their way to the 89-68 victory.
UAB now hosts Columbus State on Friday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. CT in the regular season-opener at Bartow Arena.
For more information on the UAB men's basketball team, follow the Blazers on Twitter (@UABAthletics, @CoachJerodHaase) on Facebook (UAB Men's Basketball ) and on the web (www.UABSports.com).
Tickets for UAB men's basketball games can be purchased by calling the UAB Athletic Ticket Office at 205-975-8221.
• UAB players in double-figures: C.J. Washington (23) and Fahro Alihodzic (10) … Washington opened the game with UAB’s first five points and seven of the team’s nine points… Washington started 6-for-6 shooting from the field, finished 10-for-13 and scored 19 points in the first half to lead all players … UAB held Milligan scoreless for five minutes in the first half … Rod Rucker tallied 10 rebounds in the first half to lead the Blazers as he finished with 13 boards … In the first half, UAB shot 51.5 percent from the field and 50 percent behind the arc.
Head Coach Jerod Haase
“It’s an exhibition game for a reason. It was good to get out there in front of a crowd, in a game setting, and in game uniforms. To say there was game slippage would be an understatement. We had some great practices this past week that did not carry over into the game. I didn’t think we were great, and I think Milligan is a well-coached team. Having said that, we were anxious and impatient. We took some bad shots. We had too many turnovers. It was not selfishness, it was just carelessness. Players were trying to do the right thing; they just didn’t do it very well.”
On the starting lineup…
“It’s still a work in progress. Rod (Rucker) did not play any at the ‘3’ spot last year and he is going to play there some this year. It’s a transition for him. We are playing a bigger lineup and we should be a good rebounding team with that lineup. In practice, it has looked better at times.”
On variety of scoring options…
“We have enough talent where there will be ebbs and flows to the scoring. This is not going to be a team where teams can zero in on a certain guy and lock him down because we do have other options this year. That’s going to be a case that goes game to game because we do have guys that can score.”
On what was most pleasing about the game…
“Our attitudes are fantastic. I wasn’t really pleased with our play in very many ways. I thought our guys responded and broke the game open in the middle of the second half. It was more of just settling down. Hopefully we can carry that into Friday’s game. The team is very bought in.”
Senior F Rod Rucker
On today’s performance…
“We made a step toward our goals, not just to win, but to get better. We did not play to the best of our abilities though.”
On UAB's depth…
“By guys being able to take a quick break, I think you can play harder during the time that you are in the game. It’s a whole lot better. Having more guys able to come off the bench, it makes it easier for us to run harder.”
Junior F C.J. Washington
On his success…
“I was getting open and my point guard was finding me. Being in the right place at the right time and knowing where to be was the key.”
On if he expected to have such a strong game…
“Not really. I just come out every day and try to play hard for my team. I try to give my team whatever I can.”