East Carolina (11-6) at UAB (8-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 23, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bartow Arena (8,508) -- Birmingham, Alabama.
Television: None. Home Record: ECU 10-1. UAB 7-1. Away Record: ECU 1-5, UAB
1-7. Neutral Record: ECU 0-0, UAB 0-2. Conference Record: ECU 2-2, UAB 0-3.
Series Record: UAB leads, 12-3.
GAMES NOTES: Mired in a season-long skein, the UAB Blazers will try to
right the ship when they return to Bartow Arena to host the East Carolina
Panthers in Conference USA action Wednesday night.
East Carolina had strung together back-to-back victories for just the first
time since a five-game win streak to start the season before a 77-56 loss to
Marshall on Saturday. After the setback the Pirates are now 11-6 overall,
while owning a 2-2 split in its four conference tilts. Playing on the road has
been the main cause of East Carolina's issues this season with the Pirates
just 1-5 in away contests including losses in five straight. East Carolina
hosts UTEP next.
A once promising season has take a turn for the worse for UAB which has
dropped four straight games after a 74-59 loss to Southern Miss on Saturday.
The Blazers have dropped to 8-10 during the losing streak, while taking losses
in all three of their conference matchups. Getting back to Bartow Arena could
help the Blazers cure some of those ills as they are 7-1 at home this season.
UAB hits the road next to take on Houston.
Last year saw these teams split the season series with the road team actually
coming out on top in each instance. UAB has generally had a leg up on the
Pirates in the all-time series though, which the Blazers lead 12-3.
East Carolina was run over by Marshall on a night in which the Pirates shot
just 32.8 percent from the field. The Pirates also had a game-high 18
turnovers, nine of which came off of steals by the Thundering Herd. The
offensive woes negated any benefit the Pirates had from their 47-42 edge on
It was out of character for East Carolina to struggle on the offensive end
against Marshall. The Pirates are the second-highest scoring team in the
conference (77.5 ppg). That scoring average is also among the top 25 marks in
the country as well. Ball movement has been the key for East Carolina which
has handed out the sixth-most assists nationally (17.5 pg). Maurice Kemp (17.8
ppg, 8.1 rpg, 2.4 apg) is the second-leading scorer in the conference and the
top option for the Pirates. The 6-foot-8 forward is also a more than capable
rebounder and a solid passer out of the frontcourt. Miguel Paul (12.8 ppg, 5.7
apg) has led the team's impressive distribution efforts as the second leading
assist-man in the conference.
Turnovers played a massive role in UAB's loss to Southern Miss. The Blazers
coughed up the ball 20 times while taking it away from the Golden Eagles on
just eight occasions. That led to a 21-5 deficit for the Blazers in points off
turnovers that proved critical in the 15-point loss.
The Blazers are netting 72.8 points per game on the campaign, while shooting
just 42.2 percent from the field. Like the Pirates the Blazers are able to
move the ball effectively as they rank second in the conference in assists
(16.2 pg). On defense the Blazers are letting up 72.6 points per game on 43.8
percent shooting. A trio of double-figure scorers lead the efforts for UAB.
Chief among them is Rod Rucker (14.1 ppg, 8.2 rpg) who will likely match up
with Kemp on the interior. Jordan Swing (12.9 ppg, 5.8 rpg) is a versatile
forward that can score from most spots on the floor as he shoots 38 percent
from beyond the arc and 43.1 percent overall. Terence Jones (10.4 ppg, 4.0
apg) is the lead distributor but not a very efficient scorer as he hits just
36.6 percent of his attempts.
The battle between Rucker and Kemp on the interior should be a good one. UAB
stumbled against Memphis last time it was at home but East Carolina won't
provide the same type of challenge that the conference-leading Tigers did.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UAB 74, East Carolina 70
01/23 10:43:00 ET
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