UAB recorded their third largest margin of victory on the road Thursday night in a 75-44 beat down at FAU.
Last night was fun. What we expected from UAB coming into the season fully came together in Boca Raton resulting in one of the most impressive road victories in Blazer history.
UAB held FAU under 50 points for the first time since March 9, 2016, and their lowest home scoring total since 2015. The Owls field goal percentage of 29.5 percent was their lowest in three seasons. Needless to say, UAB played one of their best games of the season and specifically their second most efficient (HaslemMetrics.com).
Of course, one has to recognize the result from last night had a lot to do with an inferior opponent, but as we’ve seen before, this team is no stranger to playing down to their competition.
It was refreshing and timely for UAB to have a one of their more complete games with the FIU game coming this Saturday. The Panthers took Middle Tennessee to overtime and swept us last season. Trust me when I tell you, this will be a much more competitive and physical afternoon for the Blazers. Let’s a take a look at what we can expect Saturday.
Scouting the Panthers
FIU is the prototypical grind it out and make their opponent play their game kind of team. I’d say from top-to-bottom they aren’t as good as they were last season, but they have a style of play that could give UAB a lot of trouble.
The Panthers are going to be super physical and will do their best to force us to beat them with jump shots and free throws. In their overtime loss to Middle Thursday night they committed 19 fouls, while forcing the Blue Raiders into 20.
Their junior point guard Brian Beard ranks third nationally in steal percentage. On three occasions this season he has had six steals in a game. UAB was sloppy at times against FAU and must shore up their ball handling or Beard will eat Nick Norton and Scootie Bryant alive.
Offensively they are led by 6-foot-5 sophomore guard Trajon Jacob who is scoring 16.5 points per game and 40 percent from behind the arc. In their home win over FGCU in Decemeber he had 38 points and seven 3-pointers. When he is feeling it they can be very hard to beat.
I think this is a game that Chris Cokley could have some trouble because of their depth at the forward position and how they bothered Nick King last night. As I mentioned in the FAU preview, for UAB to be successful Norton, Darling, and Perry have to be consistent 3-point threats. If we can duplicate our offensive production from Thursday night we should win this game comfortably.
3 Keys To Blazer Victory
- Protect the dang ball.
- If we can get solid contribution from our bench (most notably Lavender) we will contend for a conference championship this season. Foul trouble could be an issue with FIU, and how our bench performs could be a big factor.
- Rebound the dang ball. FIU out-rebounded Middle and limited their second chance opportunities. The more physical team will win Saturday.