Andy Kennedy Era Begins With 99-50 Victory Over Alcorn State

Andy Kennedy Era Begins With 99-50 Victory Over Alcorn State

BIRMINGHAM – In his first game as head coach of the UAB men’s basketball team, Andy Kennedy led the Blazers to an impressive 99-50 victory over Alcorn State on Saturday afternoon.

Five UAB players scored in double-figures led by Jalen Benjamin’s 21 points. Kassim Nicholson scored a career-high 16 points, Quan Jackson was one rebound shy of a double-double with 14 points and a game-high nine boards. Michael Ertel and Tyreek Scott-Grayson each added 10 points for the Blazers.

Alcorn State was led by Kurk Lee with 14 points.

The first 14 minutes of the game was a two-possession contest. Jackson’s layup at the 6:13 mark put UAB ahead 29-21 and started a 16-2 run to give the Blazers a 20-point lead at 42-23 with 2:36 remaining. Nicholson’s jumper gave the Blazers its largest lead of the half at 25 points, 50-25, just before halftime.

Jackson’s fast break bucket at 17:32 of the 2nd half put the Blazers ahead by 30 points at 57-27.

The UAB lead swelled to 40 points by the midway point of the half on a Benjamin 3-pointer that made the score 78-38.

The largest lead of the game was 51 points, which happened twice. First on Ertel’s layup at 3:39, making the score 95-44 and against on a Koby Jeffries layup with under a minute remaining, which put UAB ahead 99-48.

As a team, the Blazers shot 53.4%, converting 31 of 58 attempts – including 6-of-14 from 3-point range. They got to the line 39 times, making 31 (79.5%). UAB had 10 blocks, six coming from Trey Jemison, which is his career-high.

The Blazers defense held the Braves to 30.2 percent shooting and lheld ast season’s leading scorer Troymain Crosby to just nine points on 3-of-14 shooting.

“This was a good win,” said Kennedy. “I’m proud of the way the guys attacked the game. Our guys gave effort in their approach to this transition – both coaching change transition and playing amid a global pandemic. Our energy, effort, toughness and awareness was the difference in changing the tide of the game.”

The Blazers return to the Bartow Arena floor on Saturday afternoon against Southeastern Louisiana. Tipoff is at 2:00 p.m. The Lions open their season against Purdue University Fort Wayne this evening.

Game Notes

  • UAB improves to 29-14 in season openers
  • Kennedy is 13-1 in season openers and 15-0 against SWAC teams
  • The Blazers are 8-0 against Alcorn State all-time and 24-14 against schools located in Mississippi
  • Nicholson finished the game a +46 and Jackson a +42
  • UAB outscored Alcorn State in the paint 42-28 and had 29 fast break points to the Braves’ two
  • This was the most points UAB has scored since March 3, 2018 when they defeated WKU 101-73

A limited number of season tickets remain in the upper level and can be purchased on a first come, first served basis. For those interested in season tickets, please fill out the season ticket request form or contact the UAB Ticket Office at 205-975-8221. A member of the UAB Athletics Ticket Sales and Service team will follow up with you regarding available seating options.

For more information on the UAB men’s basketball program, follow @UAB_MBB on Twitter and Instagram. Also be sure to follow @CoachAK13 on Twitter.

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