UAB Holds Off Massachusetts For 86-77 Win

Nov. 25, 2005

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AMHERST, Mass. (AP) - UAB withstood several second-half spurts by the University of Massachusetts Friday to hold on for an 86-77 win in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic.

The Blazers were powered by a 28-point, career-high performance from Demario Eddins.

"I thought it was a well-played game," UAB head coach Mike Anderson said. "I thought both teams got after it. To some people, it probably looked kind of sloppy, but it's early in the year. There was some pretty intense basketball. I thought it was a gutsy performance by two teams. There was one team (UMass) that wouldn't go away. We had a chance to really put them away and didn't. That's a tribute to Travis - Coach Ford - and the players he has."

UAB led 46-to-34 at halftime and by as many as 14 points several times. The Blazers used 10-0 and 13-4 runs in the first have to take command.

UMass came within two points of pulling even three times in the second half after beginning the stanza on a 14-2 run. The last time was at 60-58 after a basket by Rashaun Freeman with 12 minutes to play.

UAB then got the next nine points, four of which came from Eddins.

"We were fortunate to come on the road and win, but we've got a veteran ball club," Anderson said. "That's the biggest difference. When you look at the guys who made key plays for our basketball team - Demario Eddins, Squeaky Johnson - those guys have been with me since I've been at UAB. Needless to say, we're very happy with the win."

Brandon Thomas had 22 points and Freeman 21 for UMass, which won the Tip-Off in 1994 by stunning Arkansas. The Razorbacks featured then-assistant coach Mike Anderson.

Marvett McDonald and Wen Mukubu added 13 points for UAB (1-0). Squeaky Johnson notched his second career double-double with 10 points and 10 assists.

The Blazers forced 23 Minutemen turnovers, scoring 35 points off those UMass miscues, and shot 50 percent (32-of-64) from the field.

UAB next hosts South Carolina State on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. CT in the home-opener at Bartow Arena.