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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, November 14, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bartow Arena (8,508) -- Birmingham, Alabama. Television: None. Home Record: Troy 1-1, UAB 2-0. Away Record: Troy 0-1, UAB 0-0. Neutral Record: Troy 0-0, UAB 0-0. Conference Record: Troy 0-0, UAB 0-0. Series Record: UAB leads, 6-0.
GAMES NOTES: In a final home game before the Charleston Classic, the UAB Blazers will look to remain in the win column when they host the Troy Trojans in non-conference action at Bartow Arena.
It is difficult to judge just how successful Troy has been to start the year. The Trojans have split their first two games with widely different results against equally varied opponents. In the season opener the Trojans were handled rather easily on the road by Ole Miss (69-54). They followed that setback up with a dominating 102-69 win but that came against Division III LaGrange. If last year is any indication, the Trojans will be in for more games like the opener, especially on the road where they had just two wins in 14 chances.
For the Blazers the first two games of the season have returned wins, as they are 2-0 to start off the young campaign. After taking out Columbus State (79-56) in the season opener on Friday, the Blazers faced a team from the Division I ranks in their second game. They passed that test as well with a 79-76 triumph over Rutgers at Bartow Arena. Three different players had double-doubles in the win over the Scarlet Knights, led by 18 points and 10 rebounds from C.J. Washington. UAB has won 13 of its last 17 games against Bartow Arena after going 11-4 on its home floor a year ago.
The Blazers have won all six previous meetings with the Trojans.
Hunter Williams (15.0 ppg, 3.5 apg) is the go-to scorer for the Trojans. Williams poured in 26 points and knocked down 5-of-8 shots from beyond the arc in the win over LaGrange. He also grabbed eight rebounds and handed out five assists. It was a return to form for Williams, who had just four points against Ole Miss. As one of the team's leading scorers a year ago, Williams should continue to get plenty of offensive opportunities to both score and distribute. Antoine Myers (14.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg) has held up well enough down low. He was particularly effective against LaGrange, as he scored 20 points while knocking down all eight of his shots from the floor. Tevin Calhoun (10.0 ppg) has also started the season off as a double-figure scorer.
Clearly when UAB is at its best it is getting a ton of production from the frontcourt. Through the first two games the Blazers are 12th in the country in rebounding, averaging an astounding 50.5 boards per game. Washington (17.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg), Rod Rucker (13.5 ppg, 9.0 rpg) and Fahro Alihodzic (11.0 ppg, 8.5 rpg) have anchored the efforts in the paint. Washington has been the primary scorer for the team and is connecting on 53.8 percent of his shots from the field. Rucker was a double-figure scorer for the Blazers last year and is coming off a 15-point, 12-rebound double-double, his first of the year. Alihodzic (11.0 ppg, 8.5 rpg) will probably see his scoring even out as the season wears on but he is clearly a strong rebounder. Jordan Swing (10.0 ppg) is also scoring in double figures in the early going, while presenting the Blazers' best option on the wings.
UAB has an advantage in the paint and any team without enough presence down low will have trouble handling the Blazers. Myers is the Trojans' best hope to slow Washington, Rucker and Alihodzic down low, but he doesn't have enough help to complete the task.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UAB 74, Troy 60
11/14 10:36:08 ET
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