The UAB men’s basketball team found a way to finish with a flourish on Saturday afternoon at Louisiana Tech. And the Blazers did it without leading scorer Jordan ‘Jelly’ Walker.

Playing at one of the tougher venues in Conference USA, UAB dominated the final five minutes in an 81-74 conference victory that snapped a three-game losing streak for the Blazers.

UAB (13-5 overall, 4-3 C-USA) outscored Louisiana Tech, 19-4, in the final 4:20 and 8-0 in the final 48 seconds to win for the first time on the road this season. It was a stark contrast from the last three games, which all ended with one-possession losses for UAB.

Walker hurt a foot during Wednesday night’s loss to Western Kentucky. He didn’t miss any time in that game but had an MRI because of foot pain the following day. Kennedy said during his pregame radio visit with David Crane that Walker has a bruised foot.

With just under five minutes left, it looked like the Blazers could be headed to a fourth consecutive loss. Isaiah Crawford hit a pair of free throws to give the Bulldogs a 70-62 lead with 4:46 remaining. UAB’s Eric Gaines hit a pair of free throws 26 seconds later to begin a remarkable ending for the Blazers.

UAB began with an 11-0 run, which started with Gaines’ free throws and concluded with back-to-back 3-pointers by Tony Toney and Ty Brewer. Louisiana Tech answered with a Cobe Williams 3-pointer and a free throw by Quandre Bullock. The free throw gave the Bulldogs a 74-73 lead with 1:38 remaining.

UAB took over after that. Brewer’s follow dunk after a Gaines miss gave UAB the lead with 48 seconds remaining. Trey Jemison hit two free throws with 26 seconds remaining and Gaines made four free throws in the final 21 seconds to seal the win.

Gaines had 22 points, six assists, four rebounds and two steals in 36 minutes. Trey Jemison had 11 points and nine rebounds, Brewer finished with 11 points and three 3-pointers and Tavin Lovan, who got the start, had 11 points and six rebounds.

In game that was marred by 55 foul calls, the Blazers were 26 of 35 from the line. Gaines made all eight of his free throw attempts and Jemison was 7 of 11. UAB outrebounded the Bulldogs, 44-35, overall and 21-8 on the offensive glass. UAB had 30 second chance points and Louisiana Tech (10-8 overall, 3-4 C-USA) had seven.

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