Ty Brewer’s approach isn’t dictated by whether he’s in the starting lineup or coming off the bench for UAB.

“I keep the same mentality no matter what,” Brewer said. “Whether I’m starting or coming off the bench, I just try to bring a lot of energy, make shots and do what I do.”

The 6-foot-7, 200-pound Brewer, a transfer from East Tennessee State, who began his college career at Southeastern Louisiana, provided a spark off the bench in his first nine games in a UAB uniform. In the past two games, though, UAB head coach Andy Kennedy made a subtle change in his starting lineup. Kennedy inserted one Brewer (Ty) in the starting lineup, replacing another Brewer (Ledarrius).

The reason for the switch began because Kennedy was looking to get more size on the floor against South Carolina.

“When you play power 5s, they’re just bigger than us,” said Kennedy, whose team begins Conference USA play on Thursday night at 6:30 against Charlotte (9-2) at Bartow Arena. “Even though, we’re big for a mid, when you play some teams they are going to be bigger than you. Thursday, they’re going to be bigger than us. I went to it, because I felt like it gave us a better presence defensively and, also, Ty’s athleticism jumps off the chart. He can help us in a number of different ways.”

It was also a matter of getting Ty some added minutes without taking K.J. Buffen off the floor.

“I’d been playing him, really, solely as a backup to KJ at the 4,” Kennedy said. “KJ has been, maybe, our most consistent performer. He was not out of the game very much. I thought Ty deserved some more minutes.”

The move was also made because Ledarrius Brewer refocused.

“I thought [Ledarrius] could give us more,” Kennedy said. “Sometimes, when you’re not playing to your potential, a change of scenery, a change of perspective. He’d been starting all season. Changing that, I thought would, maybe, insert a little pop back in him as well. We’ll continue to mix and match, just based on who is playing well and who we are playing against. Schematically, my job is to manipulate the game and that’s what I try to do.”

The bottom line is that both need to play a critical role for the Blazers (9-2) as they move into C-USA play. Tonight’s matchup with Charlotte is definitely an exercise in conflicting approaches to the game. UAB likes the fast tempo approach and averages 87.91 per game. Charlotte plays at a deliberate pace, at best, and is second in C-USA in scoring defense at 58.09 points per game.

“At the end of the day, you control tempo with your offense,” Kennedy said. “Defensively, you sit down and guard. You can’t control when they are going to shoot the ball. You really control it with your pace of play. We’re going to try to play fast. We’re going to try to turn them over in the open floor. We’re going to do what we do, regardless of whether it’s Charlotte or the next game UTEP or UTSA. We got to be best version of self.”

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email steve.irvine@1819news.com.

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