As it turned out, just hitting the front end of a 1-and-1 situation in the final seconds of regulation could have kept UAB out of overtime on Thursday night at North Texas. Make two, and the game had a better chance of ending in regulation.

Jordan “Jelly” Walker missed the first one, opening up the opportunity for North Texas. Ten minutes of game time later, the Blazers walked away with a double overtime loss. On Friday, Walker posted a statement on social media about his performance in the loss.

For Walker and his teammates, the focus has to be looking forward. Thursday’s loss probably cost the Blazers a shot at catching North Texas for second place in Conference USA. The Blazers are three games behind the Mean Green with six games left to play and North Texas also owns the tiebreaker with a pair of wins over UAB.

On Saturday, though, UAB (17-8 overall, 8-6 C-USA) can take over sole possession of third place with a win over Middle Tennessee (15-10 overall, 8-6 C-USA) in this season’s Bartow Classic. Tip-off is at 3 p.m. at Bartow Arena. The teams are tied for third place right now with Middle Tennessee owning the tiebreaker with an overtime victory over the Blazers earlier this season.

The Blue Raiders victory came in one of the five games that Walker was on the sideline with a bruised foot. In two meetings last season, Walker scored 82 points and hit 13 3-pointers. Perhaps he’ll have the chance to get back on track after shooting 36 percent from the field in the three games since returning from injury.

In other key games around the state:

*Samford can keep pace in Southern Conference play with The Citadel coming to the Pete Hanna Center. Samford (17-9 overall, 11-2 SoCon) is currently in a tie for first place with UNC Greensboro and Furman. UNC Greensboro comes to town next Wednesday but the focus has to remain on The Citadel (9-17 overall, 4-9 SoCon).

Samford beat The Citadel, 75-63, on New Year’s Eve. Samford never trailed in that game.

Ques Glover did not play in the first meeting between Samford and The Citadel. Since returning to the lineup on Jan. 21, he is averaging 16.5 point per game and has scored at least 20 points in three of the six games.

*Troy has work left but the Trojans could still earn one of the four first round byes in Sun Belt Conference. Troy (15-11, 7-6) is currently in a four-way tie for fifth place with Louisiana visiting the Trojans on Saturday. Louisiana (20-5 overall, 10-3) is in second place after losing a first place showdown at Southern Miss (11-2 SBC) on Thursday.

*UNA , winners in six of its last seven games to move up the ASUN standings, plays host to Lipscomb on Saturday night. If UNA (15-11 overall, 7-6 ASUN) can win, the Lions will force a fifth-place tie with Lipscomb, which is coached by former UAH head coach Lennie Acuff. Lipscomb (16-10 overall, 8-5 ASUN) beat UNA, 86-62, on Jan. 5.

*The finish line is finally visible in the Gulf South Conference marathon. Current leader West Alabama (19-4, 15-4) has five games left in the 24-game conference schedule. Some other conference teams have just four games remaining.

West Alabama can maintain sole possession on Saturday during a visit to West Georgia, which is currently tied for second place with UAH. West Georgia (16-6 overall, 15-5 GSC) lost to UAH (20-6 overall, 15-5 GSC) on Thursday and the Chargers own the tiebreaker.

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