With eight minutes left in the first half, KJ Buffen made back-to-back baskets to bring the score within six points. A three-pointer UAB’s Jordan Walker gave the Blazers the lead they’d been working for with within the last five minutes of the half.
UAB (14-4) started slow allowing FIU (10-6) to score 24 points in the first ten minutes of the game.
FIU’s Tevin Brewer opened the game with a layup off the tipoff. UAB countered with a jumper by Tavin Lovan.
UAB’s KJ Buffen put up a strong first half performance, earning his fourth double-double of the season and scoring 12 points for the Blazers on the night.
FIU played an aggressive game and challenged the Blazers with top scorers Brewer and Denver Jones, as well as Dante Wilcox who led their team in rebounds.
Buffen made a jumper with twenty seconds left on the clock to give the Blazers a four-point lead at halftime, 38-34.
UAB played faster and more aggressive in the second half. After a first score for the Panthers, a layup by UAB’s Quan Jackson started a 15-0 run at the 15:41 minute mark.
In the second half, UAB scored 46 points. Top scorers for UAB in the second half were Jordan Walker and Mike Ertel.
UAB also had strong rebounding performances from Josh LeBlanc and Trey Jemison in the second half.
FIU played until the last minute of the game with a layup by Jones with twenty-three seconds left on the clock. This brought the final score to 84-56.
UAB head coach Andy Kennedy said that after a disappointing loss against Rice he is proud of the way the Blazers were able to overcome the first ten minutes of the game.
“Early we were really tentative, FIU got us on our heels and were in complete control of the game. Once we woke up a little bit, for the last 30 minute of the game we outscored by about 37.” Kennedy said, “I was pleased with our effort from that moment forward.”
UAB will take on Florida Atlantic on Saturday, Jan. 15 at Bartow Arena. Tipoff is at 3:00pm.