SAN ANTONIO – UAB’s performance on the glass propelled them to a 76-68 victory over UTSA on Thursday night.
The Blazers (13-9, 4-5 C-USA) outrebounded the Roadrunners (10-12, 4-5 C-USA) 46-24. Kassim Nicholson, who made his first career start, led the Blazers with eight boards. The +22 advantage was the highest rebound margin since the Blazers were a +23 in the season opener at Troy.
Tavin Lovan scored a team-high 19 points for UAB while Will Butler and Antonio Ralat added career-highs of 18 and 11 points respectively. Makhtar Gueye scored eight points to go with seven rebounds.
UTSA’s Keaton Wallace led all scorers with 28 points and Jhivvan Jackson, who was second in the NCAA in scoring coming into tonight’s game, finished with 20 – six under his season average.
The Blazers quickly built a 10 point lead in the first half when a 3-pointer from Jalen Benjamin made the score 23-13 at the 13:37 mark. The Roadrunners were able to chip away at the lead and tied the game at 32-32 on a fast break 3-pointer by Knox Hellmus with 1:30 to go. Butler and Jackson exchanged jumpers before Wallace’s dunk sent the game into halftime with UTSA ahead 36-34.
The second half saw three ties and five lead changes before back-to-back layups from Tamell Pearson put UAB ahead 50-48 at 13:28. They would not rescind the lead.
With the Blazers ahead by five points with 14 seconds remaining, Gueye made four clutch free throws down the stretch to ice the contest.
“This was a great win for our guys, they were really excited, especially on a floor where UTSA was 8-1,” said head coach Robert Ehsan.”
“We had a different starting lineup and Jordan Brinson’s layups in the first half helped get us going.”
Brinson made his first career start and finished with five points while being a +9 in 22 minutes players.
“How about those seniors tonight – Will and Antonio. Their leadership was amazing. Will has been playing like this pretty consistenly when he’s healthy. Antonio is one of the most toughest, unselfish players we have.”
“This was a great resilient win. Our fans would be really proud of this team tonight and how hard they played, how together they played and how tough they played.”
Up next, UAB heads to UTEP on Feb. 1. The next homestand is Feb. 6 against Rice and Alumni Day on Feb. 8 versus North Texas. Blazer great Aaron Johnson will have his number retired prior to the game against the Mean Green.
Single game tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by clicking here or by calling the UAB Athletics Ticket Office at 205-975-UAB1. Group packages are also available for 20 or more and provide your friends or co-workers an opportunity to save money while taking advantage of special fan experiences to any home basketball game. To purchase group tickets or inquire about opportunities for the 2019-20 season, please contact Chris Curtis at (205) 934-3172 or firstname.lastname@example.org.