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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 8, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bartow Arena (8,500) -- Birmingham, Alabama. Television: none. Home Record: South Alabama 1-1, UAB 3-0. Away Record: South Alabama 3-1, UAB 1-3. Neutral Record: South Alabama 0-2, UAB 0-2. Conference Record: South Alabama 2-0, UAB 0-0. Series Record: UAB leads, 29-14.
GAME NOTES: Once co-members of the Sun Belt Conference, the South Alabama Jaguars and UAB Blazers try to rebound from defeats when they face each other on Saturday at Bartow Arena.
The Blazers are coming off a 84-64 loss at Middle Tennessee on Wednesday, the team's second straight defeat, dropping UAB one game under .500 on the year.
Meanwhile, the Jaguars also lost their last time out in a 58-52 decision at home to New Mexico State on Tuesday. The loss halted a brief two-game win streak for South Alabama, which now sits at .500 on the year (4-4).
These schools have met just five times since 1999. South Alabama broke a six- game skid to UAB last season. The Blazers have won 11 of the last 15 encounters and lead the overall series 29-14.
The Jaguars fell behind by 17 points in their most recent contest and couldn't come all the way back. Mychal Ammons was the only player in double figures for South Alabama with 16 points. Augustine Rubit had 10 rebounds to go with eight points. The Jaguars had a two-game winning streak broken despite outscoring the Aggies 15-3 from 3-point range. South Alabama converted just 9-of-17 free throws. On the positive side, the 13 steals by the Jaguars tied the most by the program since the 2006-07 season.
Scoring balance has been the story of South Alabama's team this season. The Jaguars have three players scoring at least 12.9 points per game - Rubit (17.8 ppg), Ammons (12.9) and Xavier Roberson (12.9). Rubit (9.1 rpg) and Ammons (8.1 rpg) are at the head of the class in rebounding on the team. Ammons, though, has been the star as far as shooting the ball goes recently. The 6- foot-6 sophomore guard is averaging 18.5 points and 3 1/2 3-pointers, and is shooting 59.1 percent from the floor and 63.6 percent from 3-point range over the last two contests.
UAB began the season by winning three of its first four games, but has since lost four of the last five contests. In the loss to the Blue Raiders, the Blazers shot just .373 from the floor and compounded the problem by turning the ball over 20 times. Jordan Swing led the way offensively for UAB, with 13 points. Fahro Alihodzic and Preston Purifoy provided limited support with 10 points each.
UAB has five players averaging at least 9.2 points, including Swing at a team- high 14.8 points. The junior forward is shooting 52.5 percent from 3-point range, which is third-best mark in Conference USA. Rod Rucker (13.1 ppg, 7.8 rpg), Alihodzic (10.2 ppg), and the backcourt duo of Robert Williams (9.2 ppg) and Terence Jones (9.2 ppg) make up the remainder of the starting five.
Seeing that South Alabama has never won in Bartow Arena (0-8) and has not come away victorious in Birmingham since Feb. 27, 1988, look for the Blazers to continue their winning trend in this series.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UAB 77, South Alabama 72
12/08 10:31:46 ET