FACTS & STATS: Site: Bartow Arena (8,500) -- Birmingham, Alabama. Television: none. Home Record: SMU 7-6, UAB 10-3. Away Record: SMU 5-6, UAB 4-9. Neutral Record: SMU 2-2, UAB 0-2. Conference Record: SMU 4-9, UAB 6-7. Series Record: UAB leads 7-2.
GAME NOTES: The SMU Mustangs will travel to Birmingham to square off with the UAB Blazers in a Conference USA matchup at the Bartow Arena on Saturday afternoon.
Coach Larry Brown's Mustangs are fresh off a 67-55 win over the Rice Owls. The win got SMU out of a two-game slump. This will be the first of a two-game road swing for the Mustangs before going home to host UTEP for their regular-season closer. The UTEP game will be played at the Curtis Culwell Center with the Moody Coliseum now under renovation.
The Blazers are coming off a 76-71 win over Tulane. It was the third win in a row for UAB which has gone 6-2 after an 0-5 start to conference play. This is the first of a two-game homestand for the Blazers before heading to nationally-ranked Memphis to close out regular-season action.
UAB leads the all-time series between these squads 7-2 and has won the last five meetings. The last matchup came in February of last year when the Blazers took a 47-28 win in a low-scoring bout at SMU.
SMU was led by Shawn Williams with 17 points, six rebounds, and three blocks in the win over the Owls. Cannen Cunningham added a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds, while also recording three blocks. Nick Russell also scored 13 points. The three players combined for 12 of SMU's 17 turnovers and took 25 of the Mustangs' 37 shots from the field.
Jalen Jones is the leading scorer for the Mustangs this season with 14.9 ppg and is joined in double-figure scoring by Russell with 14.1 ppg and Ryan Manuel with 12.3 ppg. SMU is a defensive-minded unit and holds opponents to 62.1 ppg on just 38.9 percent shooting from the field (1st in C-USA, 27th in nation).
While Rod Rucker led UAB in scoring with 26 points in the win over Tulane, Jordan Swing was the star of the game doing just about everything. Swing nearly recorded a triple-double with 23 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists. He shot highly efficient from 3-point range, knocking down 5-of-7 attempts while shooting 9-of-12 from the field.
Swing and Rucker are the top scorers for UAB, with 14.2 and 14.1 ppg, respectively. While they are the only two averaging in double-figure scoring, there are six Blazers averaging 8.0+ ppg as the squad tallies over 72.0 ppg. Rucker leads the way on the boards, pulling down 8.1 rpg, as the team manages over 37.0 rpg. Their high-scoring offense has been offset this season by poor defensive play, allowing 71.0 ppg.
UAB is 10-3 in home competition this season and it seems as if the Blazers are really starting to clique heading down the stretch. SMU is 5-6 in away games and a win over Rice does not hold much weight in this conference. The Blazers should be able to get the win here if they are able to step up their game defensively.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UAB 65, SMU 64
03/02 10:44:01 ET
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