Junior forward William Lee scored the game-winning basket to advance the Blazers to the second round of the conference tournament. Photo from UABsports.comJunior forward William Lee scored the game-winning basket to advance the Blazers to the second round of the conference tournament. Photo from UABsports.comJack Ryan
Sports Editor

The UAB Men’s Basketball team entered the BJCC’s Legacy Arena on Wednesday, March 8 looking to avenge last year’s early exit from the Conference USA tournament. This year, the Blazers faced off against the University of North Carolina at Charlotte 49er’s in their first round of the tournament.

UAB dominated the first half of the game, though neither team got off to a great start. At the half, UAB shot 42.9 percent from the floor while going four of nine from 3-point range. UAB junior forward Chris Cokley led the Blazers at half time with seven points, going three of four from the floor. The Blazers took a five-point lead to the locker room, though they did not hit a shot the last few minutes of the half.

After halftime, Charlotte and UAB came out trading buckets. UAB maintained a lead for most of the half. However, Charlotte’s Jon Davis put the team on his back. After only scoring four points in the first half, he scored 21 points in the second. He attacked UAB’s defense and drove the ball to the rim, making easy layups.

The game started to tighten up as Charlotte tied the score. A hard foul on UAB’s senior forward Tosin Mehinti almost started another brawl, but cooler heads prevailed. UAB settled down after this almost-incident, and the teams continued to trade buckets.

With just 12 seconds to go in the game, Davis hit a long jumper to put the 49ers up by one point. The inbounds pass went to UAB senior guard Hakeem Baxter. Baxter sprinted down the floor and put up a wild shot. Junior guard William Lee was trailing the play and slammed the missed shot to put UAB up one point with six seconds to play.

Davis attempted a long shot to win the game, but it fell off the rim. UAB won the game 74-73.

UAB continues on to the next round of the tournament, taking on Louisiana Tech University tomorrow at 5:30 in Legacy Arena.

Jack Ryan can be reached at jackryan@uab.edu and on Twitter @kscope_sports.

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Imani Johnson fights for the shot down under the basket against Southern Illinois
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