UAB junior guard Jalen Perry goes up and under against Southern Miss’ Josh Conley in the Blazers’ 86-75 win Thursday night in Bartow Arena.
Photo by Christopher Dennan/Staff Photographer

Savannah Snowden
Sports Reporter

In their first home game of 2018, the UAB men’s basketball team began with a pace that lasted until the end, ultimately defeating the Southern Miss Golden Eagles 86-75 to improve to 12-5 on the year and 3-1 in conference play.

The Blazers played with energy that spread from the court to the crowd, and they kept steady throughout the game. Draining 17 of 28 shot attempts in the first half sent UAB into the break with a 46-27 lead. They continued this pace through the second half and added another 40 points to push them to victory.

Head Coach Robert Ehsan applauded junior guard Jalen Perry’s impressive display of teamwork despite only contributing two of the Blazers’ points on the night.

“[Perry] had an open three in the first half and he swung it to Nick [Norton] for a better shot,” Ehsan said. “You could see [Perry] wanted it. He wanted to make a couple baskets, but he made the right play for the team.”

Ehsan’s thoughts were echoed by sophomore guard Nate Darling, UAB’s leading scorer on the night with 20 points. Darling shot six for seven from three-point land.

“When we’re all going, we are pretty hard to stop,” Darling said. “That’s kind of our gameplan from the start. We bring a bunch of energy and get a lead early on.”

The Blazers combined for 20 assists and 33 rebounds. Four players scored in double digits.

UAB will now square off against long-time foe Louisiana Tech Saturday. Senior forward Chris Cokley anticipates some excitement on the hardwood, referencing the Blazers’ previous meeting between the two schools in last year’s ConferenceUSA tournament. UAB lost that game 69-57.

“Both teams should have a little bad taste in their mouth,” Cokley said.

Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. Saturday in Bartow Arena.

Savannah Snowden can be reached at savsno@uab.edu.

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