Things to know: UAB

After an emotional win over TCU last week, SMU failed to keep the momentum going as they took a conference loss on the road to Rice last Saturday. The Mustangs look to get their three-game homestand off to a positive start tonight against UAB at 7.

The highest of highs was followed by the lowest of lows. Yes, it's been that kind of season for UAB.

The Blazers knocked off Conference USA leader Southern Miss 71-60 on Feb. 4 in one of their best efforts of the season.

Three days later, Memphis, which had moved into a tie for the top spot in the conference, humiliated UAB in a 79-45 rout on its home floor.

UAB's three-game winning streak came to a halt as it fell to 10-14 overall and 5-6 in the conference. The three-game streak matched UAB's longest of the season, which came from Dec. 22-31.

Coach Mike Davis was again left to question his team's effort, something he has done many times this season.

"Some of our guys came in here just afraid," Davis said. "The bottom line, and they don't want to say it, we dismissed this game and said, 'We'll wait until next game to play basketball.'"

UAB was tied for seventh place in C-USA with Texas-El Paso through Feb. 11 and has two games with teams below it in the standings as it plays at Southern Methodist (11-14, 2-8) on Feb. 15 and hosts Tulane (15-9, 3-7) on Feb. 18.

NOTES, QUOTES

--UAB beat first-place Southern Mississippi 71-61 on Feb. 8 then was hammered 79-45 at Memphis three nights later.

Though UAB beat the Conference USA leader, Blazers coach Mike Davis thought his team's effort against Memphis showed how far apart it is from Southern Miss and the conference's other top teams.

Memphis made its first six 3-point field goal attempts against UAB in rolling to a 47-21 halftime lead.

"It only snowballs when you stop fighting," Davis said. "They got Southern Mississippi down 16-4 at Southern Mississippi. So they've made some runs on some teams. The difference between us and Southern Mississippi is they kept fighting, we just started settling for jump shots."

Davis was referring to Southern Miss' 75-72 victory over Memphis on Feb. 1 in which it overcame an early 12-point deficit.

--Senior F Cameron Moore was picked as the Conference USA Preseason Player of the Year in a poll of conference coaches. For the most part, Moore has lived up to that distinction as he was averaging a double-double with 15.9 points and 10.4 rebounds in 24 games through Feb. 11 and his 2.8 blocked shots a game led the conference.

However, Moore was benched for the final 18:28 of the loss at Memphis because Davis was not pleased with his attitude.

"The way he practiced (the day before the game), he disrespected the team and me," Davis said. "He played the way he practiced. I gave him a couple minutes (in the second half), he never went to the offensive boards, he never got down and played physical. He never played with any desperation or effort at all, so I'm not going to play you like that."

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

KEY MATCHUPS: SMU senior F Robert Nyukundi was averaging 15.3 points and 5.1 rebounds a game through Feb. 11 and junior G London Giles had a 10.4 scoring average. UAB is 6-0 against SMU since the Mustangs joined Conference USA for the 2005-06 season.

FUTURES MARKET: Sophomore G Quincy Taylor had scored in double figures in three of the last five games through Feb. 11, averaging 9.8 points and shooting 52.9 percent from floor (18-of-34), including 52.6 percent from 3-point range (10-of-19). The hot streak lifted Taylor's season scoring average to 6.2 after he had reached double digits just twice in his first 19 games.

PLAYER NOTES

--Sophomore G Preston Purifoy scored in double figures for a fifth straight game as he had 14 points in a 79-45 loss at Memphis on Feb. 11. Purifoy was 4-of-11 from the field, all 3-point attempts. That marked the most 3-point attempts by a UAB player this season. Purifoy was averaging 13.6 points a game during the five-game streak to lift his season average to 8.2.

--Senior F Cameron Moore scored a season-low four points and played just 18 minutes against Memphis. Moore sat out the final 18:28 because UAB coach Mike Davis felt he wasn't giving a good effort. Moore was averaging a team-high 14.0 points through Feb. 11.

--Sophomore F Jordan Swing failed to score for the first time this season as he went 0-for-5 in 27 minutes against Memphis. Swing had scored a combined 34 points in the previous two games after missing three games with a broken hand.


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