UAB (14-7) at FIU (11-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 6, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: U.S. Century Bank Arena (5,000) -- Miami, Florida. Television: None. Home Record: UAB 11-2, FIU 7-3. Away Record: UAB 2-3, FIU 3-6. Neutral Record: UAB 1-2, FIU 1-2. Conference Record: UAB 3-4, FIU 3-4. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The UAB Blazers will begin their two-game tour of Florida on Thursday when they collide with the FIU Panthers for Conference USA action at U.S. Century Bank Arena.
UAB suffered a 74-67 setback to East Carolina at home on Saturday. The loss ended the Blazers' two-game winning streak and lowered them to a 14-7 overall record, which includes a 3-4 league standing. Coach Jarod Haase's squad managed to knock off some notable programs such as Rutgers, Nebraska and North Carolina before struggling with its C-USA slate. The lack of success in conference games is partially due to the Blazers' 104-of-166 clip at the charity stripe, which ranks 14th in the league. UAB is pacing the nation in rebounding with 46.7 rpg.
Coach Anthony Evans and his Panthers return home after being defeated by Marshall (80-68) and Charlotte (73-61) on their two-game road swing. They were limited to 38.5 percent efficiency from the field including a 1-of-12 performance from 3-point range by the 49ers in the more recent shortcoming. FIU fell to the .500 mark on the season and to a 3-4 C-USA record with the back-to- back losses. The Panthers are netting 67.7 ppg on 44.5 percent shooting from the field on the campaign. They are ranked 40th among Division I schools with 38.4 rpg.
This will be the first meeting in history between UAB and FIU on the hardwood.
In their loss at ECU on Saturday, C.J. Washington paced the Blazers with 25 points and nine rebounds. Chad Frazier finished with 13 points, six assists and five boards. Rod Rucker chimed in with 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists. UAB launched 25 attempts from beyond the arc and connected on only five, which explains why it lost despite enjoying a 42-36 edge in the rebounding battle as well as a 40-28 advantage in points in the paint. Frazier and Washington, who are both first-year junior college transfers, have combined to lead UAB in scoring in 19 of its 21 games this season. Rucker is joining the duo in double-figure scoring with 11.1 ppg which he has accompanied with 7.4 rpg.
FIU's tandem of Rakeem Buckles and Tymell Murphy did not disappoint against Charlotte at Halton Arena. Buckles recorded a double-double with 20 points and 10 boards, while Murphy logged a double-double of his own with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Dennis Mavin chipped in 14 points for the Panthers, but it was not enough as the 49ers drained 8-of-15 shots from behind the 3-point line. Murphy has been sensational throughout the 2013-14 campaign en route to a team-high 16.7 ppg, which he accompanies with 8.1 rpg and 1.5 blocks per tilt. Buckles is near a double-double average with 13.4 ppg and 9.1 rpg, while Mavin (11.2 ppg) is the top scoring option out of the backcourt.
FIU's forwards are skilled, however they will be overmatched physically by UAB's tenacious front line. Since both Murphy and Buckles are both undersized for their post positions, the Blazers should be able to dominate the rebounding battle and deny the Panthers anything easy inside. FIU will need UAB to continue to struggle at the free-throw line to have a chance of ending its losing slide.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UAB 75, FIU 66
02/06 10:18:02 ET