One disappointing loss can’t turn into a lost trip for the UAB men’s basketball team.
Thursday’s 88-86 setback at FAU knocked the Blazers (12-3 overall, 3-1 C-USA) out of first place in Conference USA. Now the challenge is putting that in the rearview mirror and heading up the road for Saturday afternoon’s C-USA matchup with FIU. The teams will tip it off at 6 p.m. at Ocean Bank Convocation Center.
“Listen, man, it’s life on the road,” UAB head coach Andy Kennedy said on his radio appearance after Thursday’s loss. “When you get in conference play, what’s done is done. We’ve got to dust ourselves off, we’ve got to learn from it, and we’ve got to figure out a way to get a split on this Florida trip.”
FIU is coming off a 62-60 win over a good Charlotte team, the first C-USA win this season for the Panthers (7-7 overall, 1-2 C-USA). The final points came on a layup by Arturo Dean with 1:55 remaining. Seth Pinkney had a big block with nine seconds left to help preserve the victory. The win improved FIU to 7-2 at home this season
The Panthers have one of the top scorers in the conference in 6-foot-4 sophomore Denver Jones, averaging 18.4 points per game. Only UAB’s Jordan Walker (24.86 ppg) averages more points per game. Jones has scored double digits in 11 of his 12 appearances and has at least 20 points in each of the last three games.
The only other double-digit scorer for FIU is Dean, a 5-foot-11 freshman who averages 12.1 points per game.
As a team, FIU is 10th out of 11 C-USA teams in 3-pointers made (88) and 3-point percentage (29.5 percent).
UAB is coming off a game that the Blazers got beat badly on the boards and left too many points off the scoreboard from the free throw line. FIU is last in C-USA in rebounding margin. UAB needs to get back on track at the line, where they’ve been good for most of the season. The Blazers lead C-USA in free throw percentage at 74.7 percent.
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