by Garrett Helmers
On an afternoon where UAB (15-4) struggled to shoot the basketball, particularly in the first half, defense allowed the Blazers to earn back-to-back victories in conference play.
The Blazers opened the first half on a 14-4 run, led by senior guard Quan Jackson, who had eight of UAB’s first 14 points.
FAU (8-8) would not make it easy for UAB though, as top scorers Alijah Martin and Michael Forrest gave the Blazers all they could handle. Evening the score at halftime, FAU created turnovers and shot well from three-point range after the initial surge by the Blazers.
The Owls would take a seven-point lead as late as halfway through the second half, but the Blazers proved to be too much for FAU.
After nearly eight minutes without a field goal in the second half, the Blazers and Jordan “Jelly” Walker turned to defense to find the spark they needed.
UAB turned 13 turnovers by FAU into 15 points, allowing them to overcome their 43 percent shooting percentage and the highly motivated FAU team.
Walker, who finished with a career high 27 points, stole the ball from FAU’s Bryan Greenlee down by three with just over seven minutes left in the game. Walker would lay it in for an easy two, cutting the lead to 1. The steal fueled a 26-12 run for the Blazers to end the game.
Jackson, who also finished with a career high of 29 points, says the defensive mentality of the Blazers is what allowed them to come out victorious despite a poor offensive performance.
“When we’re down, we don’t even think about offense. The scoring is going to come… [making]stops is what allows us to win games.”
UAB head coach Andy Kennedy contributes the win to defense and energy from both the players and the fans.
“Great energy, it was the best energy that we’ve had in this building. I appreciate the people coming out and supporting this team.”
UAB will head to Ruston, La. to take on Louisiana Tech on Saturday, Jan. 22. Tipoff is set for 3:00pm.