UAB (5-5) at Rutgers (6-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, December 16, 12 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: The RAC (8,000) -- Piscataway, New Jersey. Television: RVision. Home Record: UAB 4-0, Rutgers 3-1. Away Record: UAB 1-3, Rutgers 2-1. Neutral Record: UAB 0-2, Rutgers 1-0. Conference Record: UAB 0-0, Rutgers 0-0. Series Record: First meeting.
GAMES NOTES: The Rutgers Scarlet Knights will host the UAB Blazers in a non- conference tilt at the RAC on Sunday afternoon.
UAB got back into the win column with a 92-78 victory over South Alabama at home last time out. The win stopped a rough stretch for the Blazers in which they lost four of five games. The victory also put the Blazers back to .500 on the season with a 5-5 record overall. Traveling outside of Bartow Arena has proved lethal for UAB though with the team 1-3 in true road games and 0-2 on neutral site courts. UAB has a three-game homestand coming up beginning against ULM on Thursday.
For Rutgers the last few weeks have been entirely different with the Scarlet Knights winners of six of their last seven contests, including the last two straight. The most recent victory came against George Washington (68-65) in a tough challenge that opened up the current four-game homestand for Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights are 6-2 overall and 3-1 at the RAC where the next two games will be held for Rutgers beginning against Howard next Friday.
This game will be the first ever between these squads.
It was UAB's play in the first half that really carried the Blazers to the win over South Alabama. The Blazers shot 51.3 percent from the field and hit 5- of-11 shots from 3-point range while holding the Jaguars to 30.3 percent shooting and misses on all 12 shots from beyond the arc. UAB led 36-27 at the half and coasted to the victory by shootings an even better 66.7 percent in the second half. UAB outscored South Alabama 44-28 on points in the paint and 25-16 in points off turnovers. Of five players in double figures, Jordan Swing led the way with 18 points.
The Blazers are scoring 77.6 points per game and shooting at a 44.5 percent clip from the field. They have done a tremendous job moving the ball, and by handing out 18.0 assists per game, are ranked eighth in the nation in that category. UAB is also in the top 50 in the country in rebounding (39.7 pg). Swing (15.1 ppg, 5.7 rpg, .510 FG percentage) has been a versatile player that can get his shot off from most spots on the floor. At 6-foot-6, he also has the size to get inside and attack the glass. Rod Rucker (12.6 ppg, 7.5 rpg, .547 FG percentage) is a more traditional big man and leads the team in rebounding. Center Fahro Alihodzic (10.9 ppg, 4.3 rpg) scored a career-high 17 points against South Alabama. Robert Williams (9.7 ppg, 6.0 rpg) and Terence Jones (8.0 ppg, 4.1 apg) are also important contributors.
Rutgers led by as many as 13 points against George Washington but let that lead slip away in the second half and trailed as late as 6:31 remaining. An 8-0 run pushed Rutgers ahead for good though and when a 3-pointer at the buzzer from Patricio Garino was off the mark, the Scarlet Knights escaped with the win. Rutgers shot at a 43.1 percent rate in the game and hit just 3-of-14 shots from 3-point range. Rutgers was also on the short end of a 45-29 margin on the boards but benefited from 23 George Washington turnovers. Eli Carter was the lead scorer with 19 points.
The Scarlet Knights are netting a respectable 72.8 points per game and shooting at a healthy 46.4 percent clip from the field. Rutgers hasn't posted many easy victories though with an 88-62 victory over Sacred Heart the only win decided by double digits. Rutgers allows 68.4 points per game despite limiting teams to 40.5 percent shooting. The Scarlet Knights have a +5.1 edge on the boards by bringing in 38.9 rebounds per game. The backcourt duo of Carter and Myles Mack powers Rutgers. Carter (16.4 ppg) is the top scorer and is currently ranks 11th in the Big East. Mack (15.1 ppg) is also scoring well and ranks sixth in the conference in both 3-point shooting (.455) and overall field goal percentage (.587). Dane Miller (8.4 ppg, 6.5 rpg) will match up with Swing as a similar swingman that can play on the perimeter and in the paint. Wally Judge (7.1 ppg, 7.0 rpg) is the top rebounding option.
UAb has been a different team when its hits the road this season. Rutgers has been strong both on the road and at home and with Carter and Mack likely to keep scoring, the Knights should earn another win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Rutgers 74, UAB 68
12/16 10:34:22 ET