The score may not show it, but the Blazers cruised to a comfortable home win over Southern Miss Thursday to improve to 3-1 in conference play.
Behind their best shooting percentage night of the season, UAB recorded their eighth game where they’ve scored more than 85 points. The Blazers’ 61.5 shooting percentage is their most efficient since shooting 72.1 percent at Stephen F. Austin last season.
UAB had some turnover issues, which I’m not totally surprised by considering Southern Miss came into this game being one of the top teams in the country converting steals and their unconventional guard heavy lineups. I was, however, impressed with the Blazers’ ability to guard without fouling against a smaller, quicker team. UAB only had five team fouls resulting in just two free throw attempts.
Now, UAB must prepare for a quick turn around and face a La Tech team Saturday that will be considerably bigger and more versatile on offense. Let’s take a closer look at the Bulldogs.
Scouting the Bulldogs
This La Tech team will feature a lot of familiar faces as four of the five starters from Thursday night were significant contributors on last season’s team. Their main two interior pieces, Erik McCree and Omar Sherman, have graduated, as well as one of their star guards Jalen Harris who left the team one month ago.
The Bulldogs can throw some length at UAB, but as far as big bodies they don’t really have any. Their 7-footer Joniah White is long and lanky and can be a shot blocking force when he isn’t in foul trouble. Their reserves, Jy’lan Washington and Oliver Powell, are 6-foot-9 and 6-foot-8 respectfully, but like White their lanky and not much of an offensive threat.
The guards bring home the bacon for this team. DaQuan Bracey has become one of the best point guards in the conference and Jacobi Boykins has consistently been one of the top 3-point shooters in the conference for the last three seasons. La Tech’s guards are bigger, stronger, and more skilled than Southern Miss’, and they play fantastic on ball defense.
Southern Miss was the first team to score more than 70 points against UAB since Auburn on December 9. The competition hasn’t been great outside of Middle Tennessee, but I’m hear to tell you this defense has come a very long way. When La Tech is on they can drop 90-plus points, and they will not stop fighting if they get behind. They trailed by 14 at Western Kentucky and ended up only losing by one point.
3 Keys to Blazer Victory
- UAB needs to get back to taking care of the ball after turning it over 14 times Thursday night. La Tech will do a lot more damage than Southern Miss did with our miscues.
- Like Thursday night, Cokley and Lee should be able to find themselves in favorable match ups. There isn’t a player on the Bulldogs roster who can guard Chris Cokley.
- Our guards are going to have their hands full defensively. We’ll need Lavender and Perry both to come in and defend at a high level when they’re called on.