Dec. 29, 2013
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. --- UAB men’s basketball coach Jerod Haase admitted he shouldn’t complain after Sunday’s 69-57 over Alabama A&M at Bartow Arena. However, he couldn’t help himself after watching a less than smooth performance by his team in the Blazers’ 10th win of the season.
“I’m very aware that after a win I should be positive and there are some positives to take away from the game,” Haase said after his team improved to 10-3. “But, more than anything, I’m a little bit frustrated at our execution (and) our effort at times. We need to learn and grow from this. I thought our practices the last few days were pretty good at times and (should) carry over to the games. That’s something we’ll address tomorrow, and we’ve got to start finding solutions.”
It wasn’t difficult to pinpoint the positives that came out of the up-and-down performance against an Alabama A&M team that fell to 3-7. For the most part, the Blazers played well on defense, limiting the Bulldogs to 35.9 percent from the field and, once again, UAB won the rebounding battle. The Blazers outrebounded the Bulldogs, 51-37, overall, including 23 rebounds on the offensive end.
However, even the positives came with an area that needs improvement. Haase said his team didn’t “guard the ball as well as I would like” in transition and the Bulldogs scored 10 fast break points. Alabama A&M also turned 14 offensive rebounds into 16 second-chance points.
“It was up-and-down,” said Jordan Swing, who had 11 points, seven assists and six rebounds. “The first half, I felt like our defense was good and we kind of slipped up a little late in the first half. It bled over to the second half a little bit but I’m always happy with the win.”
UAB played the first half without Rod Rucker, who sat out because of a team violation, and leading scorer Chad Frazier failed to score in the first 20 minutes. But the Blazers still jumped to a 20-9 lead with some strong early defense and enough production on offense. By halftime, though, the Bulldogs had trimmed the deficit to 30-22.
“We knew after the first five minutes, everything was short, we knew it was going to be a rough shooting night,” Swing said. “We knew we were going to have to pick it up on the defensive end.”
The Blazers actually heated up in the second half, shooting over 60 percent for the early part of the half and 50 percent overall after halftime. C.J. Washington scored 11 of his team-high 19 points after halftime and Frazier hit a pair of 3-pointers. UAB kept a double-digit advantage for most of the second half but couldn’t fully pull away from the Bulldogs.
Alabama A&M crept within seven points – at 57-50 – with 4:26 left in the game. UAB responded with a 10-2 run, culminating with a 3-pointer by Robert Williams and a fast break layup by Washington, over the next 3:19 to finally ice the game.
Washington, who added six rebounds, and Swing were two of four UAB players to reach double digits in points. Williams had 12 points to go along with a game-high 11 rebounds and Fahro Alihodzic had 10 points and seven rebounds.
Demarquelle Tabb led the Bulldogs with 18 points and 12 rebounds and Jeremy Crutcher added 14 points.
UAB returns to Bartow Arena on Saturday, Jan. 4 in a 2 p.m. contest against Newberry (S.C.) College.