UAB overcame some scoring onslaughts by the Houston Cougars to pick up win number twenty-one Saturday night. The Blazers (21-5, 9-3) started off hot, taking a 22-7 lead against the Cougars (13-13, 5-7) early on. That lead didn't last, and before UAB knew what hit them, Houston was up 27-26.
UAB managed to go up 34-33 at half-time, but the Blazer fans were getting a bit worried. They had seen this before, and the last two times UAB looked like this at Bartow Arena, the results were not favorable. Turnovers plagued UAB throughout the game, as they allowed Houston 16 points from what was mostly poor ball-handling. In the end though, Elijah Millsap and Howard Crawford were just too much for the Cougars, and UAB pulled away to win 75-66.
Millsap finished with 22 and Crawford with 20 for UAB. Aubrey Coleman had 20, followed by Zamal Nixon with 15 for Houston. UAB shot fairly well overall, finishing at an even 50% with 25-50 shots falling. They also had 20 points from the free-throw line. Houston was 33.8% shooting for the evening and had only 15 points off of fouls. You can get more complete statistics here.
With the win, UAB stays firmly in 3rd place behind Memphis and UTEP. They still have a shot at both of those teams, but first must face UCF and Tulane before taking on Memphis at Bartow Arena. If the Blazers can beat the Tigers at home, the game at UTEP could decide who finishes first in the C-USA regular season.
The rumor-mill has been alive as some are calling for Houston coach Tom Penders to be let go after this season. Another loss does not help his case, and if the Cougars finish with a losing record, you may see someone else leading Houston next year.
UAB next heads to Orlando to take on UCF. The game is Wednesday the 24th, at 7 p.m.