KJ Buffen’s double-double led UAB men’s basketball to victory over East Tennessee State 70-56 in a Wednesday night matchup in Bartow Arena.
The Blazers started slow with ETSU taking the lead within the first three minutes of the game and holding onto it until the second half.
ETSU scored first after rebounding a missed three-pointer. UAB’s Trey Jemison evened the score with a layup followed by a jumper by Buffen.
ETSU held a 26-13 lead with just over seven minutes on the clock when UAB’s Quan Jackson threw the ball up allowing KJ Buffen to set it in the goal.
Buffen continued to dominate in the first half scoring twelve points for the Blazers, making it a one-point game at halftime.
Buffen’s had a season high of twenty points and sixteen rebounds. Buffen played 36 minutes and gained his first double-double this season. He said that playing hard in this game is what improved his performance.
“Me as a player, I’m a hard playing dude so playing hard is what makes me happy,” Buffen said.
ETSU’s Leddarius Brewer picked up a double-double of his own, scoring 15 points with 10 rebounds.
UAB started the second half strong, opening with jumpers by Buffen and Quan Jackson. The Blazers’ performance improved tremendously during the second half, scoring 39 points.
After a defensive rebound by UAB’s Jackson, Mike Ertel passed the ball to Jordan Walker who made a three-pointer for the Blazers. This was followed by a steal for Jackson who made a layup on a fast break. The fast break points pushed UAB’s lead to 13 just over five minutes into the second half.
Walker dominated the second half, putting twelve points on the board for the Blazers and leading the team in assists. Walker tied Jackson for three steals, however, he also led the team with three turnovers.
UAB ended the game with two layups and three free-throws by Walker. ETSU’s Leddarius Brewer put a jumper in the basket with three seconds left on the clock giving the Buccaneers a final score of 56 points.
UAB’s head coach Andy Kennedy says that going forward they are looking to start the game more offensively.
“I thought they did a remarkable job after about the first twelve minutes of really locking in defensively,” Kennedy said. “Proud of the fight, good win against a solid team.”
UAB heads to Missouri to play Saint Louis on Dec. 4. Tipoff is at 5:30pm. The game will be streamed on ESPN+.