Junior guard Tyler Madison celebrates with William "Haha" Lee during an FIU timeout Thursday night. (Photo by Leonardo Carrubba).Junior guard Tyler Madison celebrates with William "Haha" Lee during an FIU timeout Thursday night. (Photo by Leonardo Carrubba).Leonardo Carrubba - Staff Writer
lgc17@uab.edu

The UAB men’s basketball team finished another strong week on the court after topping the Florida International University Panthers and the Florida Atlantic University Owls.

The Blazers have become the fastest team in school history to reach 20 wins. The team is also riding a school-record 23 game home win streak. The last time the Blazers fell at Bartow Arena was against the LSU Tigers in 2014. UAB also claims the driver’s seat in Conference USA with a 10-1 conference record, one game ahead of the Middle Tennessee Raiders.

The stunning win over the Owls was made even more special when Head Coach Jerod Haase paid tribute to UAB coaching legend Gene Bartow. With 6:20 left in the game, Haase received the first technical foul in his four years with the Blazers when he threw his jacket into the stands.
“That was a way for fans, the team and myself to try and honor Coach [Bartow] and appreciate what he did,” Haase said after Saturday’s win.
In addition to the team accolades, sophomore forward William Lee has received individual attention for his defensive performance this season. With an average of three blocks per game, Lee was ranked fourth in the country heading into this week’s strong performance. He has already eclipsed his single season personal best with 78 so far in this year’s campaign. On the other side of the court, sophomore guard Nick Norton entered the week 41st in the nation in assists, with 5.4 per game.

Although UAB’s nation-leading win streak was brought to a close when the Blazers traveled to play the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, the team bounced backed at Marshall and came back home to grab two wins in front of enthusiastic crowds. The week started with a coming out party for Tosin Mehinti, who saw his role on the team take a significant step forward when he counted a season-high 13 points in his first 30 minute game of the season. William "Haha" Lee breaks past FIU's defense for layup Thursday night. (Photo by Leonardo Carrubba).William "Haha" Lee breaks past FIU's defense for layup Thursday night. (Photo by Leonardo Carrubba).

“We need to make sure that he understands that we need him to play at a high level and not just be a guy out there to kind of defend a little bit, but we need him offensively, defensively, in transition, the whole bit, to be a big time productive player,” Haase said after the 74-69 win Thursday night.

UAB finished its home stand by thrashing FAU 104-67.

“That’s about as complete of a game as we’ve play to this point of the season,” Haase said. “Honoring Coach Bartow was important to them, and I know it was important to me. It really was important to my team as well. I was excited about the performance as a way to honor Coach Bartow.”
Defensive standout Lee had a top tier performance in the win, coming up just two blocks shy of a triple double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
“Our assistant coach, Coach DJ [Black], kept telling me ‘Two more. Two more,’ but I didn’t know what he meant,” Lee said.

The Blazers will battle to keep their place atop the C-USA standings when they travel to Hattiesburg, Mississippi to face the University of Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles. The first of three road games will tip off on Thursday, Feb. 11 at 7 p.m.
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