Dec. 29, 2012
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The UAB men’s basketball team used a double-double from junior forward Rod Rucker and a game-high 17 points from Terence Jones and Preston Purifoy to run past Northeastern, 83-63, on Saturday inside Bartow Arena.
The Blazers extended their home winning streak to 10 games with the victory, moving to 6-0 at Bartow Arena for the season. Overall, UAB improves to 7-6 while Northeastern falls to 5-7.
Four Blazers scored in double figures on the day, led by Jones and Purifoy, while Rucker registered his fourth double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Meanwhile, teammate and junior forward Jordan Swing finished three assists and one rebound shy of a triple-double with 15 points, nine rebounds and a career-high seven assists.
“Our guys have responded well all week following Christmas break, which is nice to see as a coach,” UAB head coach Jerod Haase said. “Overall, today’s performance might have been our best of the year. We had great energy on both sides of the court and beat a very good basketball team in Northeastern.”
For the game, UAB shot 52.7 percent from the field, while the Blazer defense held the Huskies to just 35.9 percent for the game – the Green and Gold’s best defensive effort since holding Troy to 33.3 percent shooting on Nov. 27.
“We just made hustle plays today,” Haase said. “What we do here starts with effort and energy, and we had a lot of that tonight with guys flying towards the ball and making the right plays at the right time.”
UAB came out of the gate with a strong shooting performance in the first half, knocking down 15-of-29 shots (51.7 percent) to build a 13-point cushion, 47-34, at the break.
The Blazers grabbed that halftime advantage thanks to a 10-2 run to end the period, capped off by a 3-point basket by Purifoy as time expired.
“That was a big time shot,” Haase said. “There’s not much you draw up as a coach with just eight seconds remaining, but Preston did a nice job of showing patience and knocking in a big shot for us.”
The Huskies did hang tough in the first 20 minutes as the score changed hands on four different occasions. In fact, Northeastern built up as much as a five-point lead at 15-10 with just over 13 minutes to go in the period, before UAB went on a 12-0 run to claim the lead for good.
Northeastern scored the first four points of the second half to cut the deficit to single digits. Rucker had the answer for the Blazers, however, with two-straight buckets to extend his team’s advantage to 17 (55-38) at the 15-minute mark.
Led by 13 second-half points from Jones, UAB was able to establish as much as a 22-point lead in the final 20 minutes on its way to the 83-63 win.
The Huskies received a double-double from Quincy Ford, 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Reggie Spencer added 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the floor.
In addition, the Blazers were able to contain Northeastern’s leading scorer Joel Smith to just four points. He entered the night averaging 17.8 points per game, fourth best in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA).
The Blazers look for their third-straight victory of the season when they host Georgia Southern on Wednesday at 7 p.m. CT at Bartow Arena.