The stretch during the first half of the Conference USA season shaped UAB's season. More importantly, though, it didn't define the Blazers' season.

Five losses in six games. Three of those games and two of those losses without Jordan "Jelly" Walker. One of the games that Walker did play was one of his worst in a UAB uniform. A defense that allowed nearly 80 points per game.

That stretch is now firmly in the rearview mirror, though.

UAB (21-8 overall, 12-6 conference) has won eight of its past nine games. The Blazers are 6-1 since Walker returned to the lineup. Ty Brewer is playing his best basketball of the season. Walker scored at least 20 points in each of the past five games, and he's averaging five 3-pointers in that span. Opponents are averaging just 67 points per game in those nine games.

It hasn't always been pretty. There were games when UAB turned the ball over 22 and 21 times. It hasn't always been easy. But the season has successfully been turned back in the right direction for Andy Kennedy's Blazers.

"Like AK says, you can't control if you make every shot," Walker said. "You can't control that you're going to play a perfect game. As long as you end up getting that win and you do all the little stuff it takes to win, that's the most important thing. I feel like that's the things we're focusing on now, even more, which is why we're coming up in wins."

Those little things don't always show up in the box score.

"A lot of people are focused on making shots or missing shots," Walker said. "But it's about the little things. It's about the rebounds, the blockouts, the helping the helper. We're peaking at the right time. We just won eight of the last nine. I would say everyone on our team is extremely confident. At the same time, we're staying humble. You can't ever get too far ahead of yourself."

Saturday's game at Western Kentucky is the second to last game of the regular season. The Blazers are trying to avenge an 80-78 to the Hilltoppers on Jan. 11. The game will tip at 7 p.m.

UAB has already clinched a bye in the Conference USA Tournament. Saturday's visit to WKU and next Saturday's game at Charlotte will determine how much momentum the Blazers carry into the postseason.