"A good hard-fought bounce-back win for our team."
Arizona State (1-1) shot just 35.5 percent in the first half and was lucky to be tied at 28 apiece with Alabama-Birmingham (2-1) at halftime. Much like the hosts Blazers were frigid from three-point territory which negated their 21-15 edge on the glass. For the last 13 plus minutes of the first half neither team ever had a lead larger than three points
The visitors controlled the beginning of the second stanza leading by as many as eight points with 11:33 remaining in the contest. With their outside shot not falling the Sun Devils took to the ball inside more often and scored 26 points in the paint in the last 20 minutes, fueling a 20-7 run and opening a 62-57 lead with 2:39 remaining in the contest. ASU shot a torrid 56.7 percent from the field in the second half.
UAB fought back to tie the game at 66-66 with 28 seconds left, but weren't able to stop Abbott's aforementioned winning shot.
Just as in the season opener at New Mexico, Trent Locket paced ASU with 19 points, and also had a team-high seven rebounds and tied Jamelle McMillan for a team-high five assists. Abbott finished with 15 points, 12 in the second half. With center Ruslan Pateev in foul trouble true freshman Kyle Cain was forced to play 31 minutes and made each and every one of them count scoring 15 points and grabbing six caroms. UAB's Cameron Moore led all players on the floor with 22 points and 13 rebounds.
The Blazers won the battle of the boards 37-30 including 14 offensive rebounds. ASU continued to struggle from the charity stripe shooting just 71.4 percent, but committed just eight turnovers this afternoon while forcing the Blazers into 16 turnovers.
Up next for ASU is a trip to the Great Alaskan Shootout tournament and a game on Thanksgiving Night against Houston Baptist at 7 pm MT. By and large the level of competition the Sun Devils will face over the next three games in Anchorage shouldn't be as stiff as their first two games. Nonetheless, one can hope that the short experience gained thus far in the 2010-11 campaign will well prepare them for the challenges that still lie ahead.