UAB (9-2) at LSU (7-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 21, 5 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Pete Maravich Assembly Center (13,215) -- Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Television: Cox Sports Television, ESPN3. Home Record: UAB 7-0, LSU 4-0. Away Record: UAB 1-0, LSU 1-1. Neutral Record: UAB 1-2, LSU 2-1. Conference Record: UAB 0-0, LSU 0-0. Series Record: Series tied, 1-1.
GAME NOTES: The UAB Blazers take aim at their sixth consecutive victory as they square off with the LSU Tigers in a non-conference tilt at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
UAB improved to 9-2 on the season on Wednesday with a 67-52 decision over Chattanooga in Birmingham. Coach Jerod Haase's second season with the program has been very successful as the Blazers have already notched impressive wins over Rutgers, Nebraska, North Carolina and in its only true road test, Northeastern. Both of the Blazers' losses to New Mexico and Nebraska came on a neutral floor and although their win over the Huskies in Boston makes them 1-0 in away games, they went 4-10 in road games a season ago. Haase implemented a run and gun system in his inaugural season as a head coach last season, but his squad has taken on a new identity in his second tour, as its average of 48.2 rebounds per game, which leads the nation, has played a big role in the hot start.
The Tigers return home to Baton Rouge after holding off Texas Tech for a 71-69 victory on Wednesday. The win was the third in a row for LSU, which has won all four of its outings at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center this season. Coach Johnny Jones, who is also in his second year at the helm of the program, has a very balanced squad as four players are carrying double-digit scoring averages into the 10th game. LSU is registering 77.9 points, 42.4 rebounds and 14.9 assists per game.
This will be just the third meeting in history between UAB and LSU. The Blazers tied the all-time series with an 82-68 triumph over the Tigers in the first round of the 2005 NCAA Tournament.
UAB is netting 77.8 points per outing on 43.6 percent shooting from the floor overall. The Blazers used a strong defensive effort to down the Mocs on Wednesday. Chattanooga made only 30.6 percent of its field-goal attempts including an 8-of-30 clip from behind the 3-point line. Jordan Swing paced UAB with 17 points while Chad Frazier tallied 15 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals. Rod Rucker chipped in 14 points and six boards in the win. Frazier has scored in double-figures in all 11 games he has played in a UAB uniform en route to a team-high averages of 18.8 points and five assists per game. The Blazers were without second-leading scorer C.J. Washington versus the Mocs due to a knee injury, but the junior forward is listed as day- to-day.
Anthony Hickey led the way for LSU against Texas Tech with 16 points, including a 4-of-4 performance from beyond the arc. Johnny O'Bryant III chipped in 14 points, Shavon Coleman had 13 points and Andre Stringer added 12 points with four assists. Freshman forward Jordan Mickey was held to a career- low five points after being limited to only 18 minutes due to foul trouble. O'Bryant is contributing team-high averages of 14.6 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. Mickey is close behind in both categories, while Stringer (13 ppg) and Hickey (10.2 ppg, 4.1 apg, 2.6 spg) both play vital roles as well.
Washington's status will be key for the visitors. UAB needs as much help as it can get against LSU's relentless front line, but even at full strength the Blazers would have trouble knocking off the Tigers in Baton Rouge. Mickey should be able to bounce back from the first poor outing of his collegiate career as long as he plays smart on the defensive end.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: LSU 77, UAB 68
12/21 11:12:32 ET