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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday January 25, 4 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Donald W. Reynolds Center (8,355) -- Tulsa, Oklahoma. Television: None. Home Record: UAB 10-1, Tulsa 7-2. Away Record: UAB 1-3, Tulsa 1-6. Neutral Record: UAB 1-2, Tulsa 1-2. Conference Record: UAB 1-3, Tulsa 4-1. Series Record: UAB leads, 8-7.
GAME NOTES: The UAB Blazers hope to get back on track as they visit the Donald W. Reynolds Center for a Conference USA challenge against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane.
Jarod Haase's Blazers appeared to be a contender to win the league prior to the start of the C-USA season as they picked up some very impressive wins over Rutgers, Nebraska and North Carolina before the turn of the new year. However. UAB has gone just 1-3 in league play and its 76-65 loss at North Texas on Thursday was its second setback in a row. UAB completely fell apart on the offensive end after halftime against the Mean Green as it made only 18.4 percent of its field-goal attempts and went 11-of-23 at the free-throw line. Although they have just one win in four tries, the Blazers have been outscored by only 1.2 ppg in C-USA play.
Tulsa has won five of its last six games to keep pace with Southern Miss and Louisiana Tech in the race for first place in the league standings. Coach Danny Manning's Golden Hurricane edged Middle Tennessee, 58-53, on Thursday to improve to 4-1 in C-USA play and just one game below the .500 mark overall. Tulsa received a huge lift from James Woodard against the Blue Raiders as he connected on a 3-pointer with four seconds remaining to break a tie before sealing the game with a pair of free throws after a defensive stop. The Golden Hurricane held a 37-29 rebounding advantage in a meeting that featured nine ties and just as many lead changes.
This will be the 16th meeting in history between UAB and Tulsa. The Blazers hold an 8-7 all-time series lead thanks to their 70-63 victory in the most recent meeting, last season.
In their loss at UNT on Thursday, Chad Frazier paced the Blazers with 20 points. Robert Williams tallied 14 points, while Fahro Alihodzic had 12. Rod Rucker cleared 11 boards. Frazier leads UAB in scoring this season with 17.5 ppg, and he has handed out a team-best 81 assists as well. C.J. Washington (13.9 ppg) and Rucker (10.8 ppg) are also contributing double-digit scoring averages into the mix. The Blazers could make strides towards the top of the conference standings if they receiver a stronger contribution from senior swingman Jordan Swing, who is averaging a career-low 8.1 ppg after netting 14 ppg in 2012-13. Swing has gone 3-of-10 from the field and 0-of-6 from 3-point range to average only three ppg over the past two games.
Woodard had 16 points while Lew Evans registered a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Golden Hurricane on Thursday. Woodard has been in the zone with 12 consecutive double-digit scoring outings en route to team- high averages of 14.9 ppg and 5.9 rpg. Although standing at just 6-feet-7 tall, Rashad Smith (12.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg) is a solid scorer in the paint, connecting on 51.5 percent of his attempts from the field. Evans averages only 5.8 ppg on the season, but has been a much more vital part of the rotation and seen a steady increase in minutes per game.
Although Woodard and company have played at a very high level since beginning their quest towards the C-USA title, UAB has the talent and experience required to bounce back from its poor start. The Blazers are getting desperate for a victory, which should have them very motivated to come out of the gate strong.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UAB 74, Tulsa 68
01/25 10:24:14 ET
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