Tulsa (17-11) at U-A-B (13-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 29th, 8:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bartow Arena (8,500) -- Birmingham, Alabama. Television: CBSSN. Home Record: Tulsa 10-4, UAB 7-7. Away Record: Tulsa 6-5, UAB 6-7. Neutral Record: Tulsa 1-2, UAB 0-0. Conference Record: Tulsa 10-4, UAB 8-6. Series Record: Tulsa leads, 7-6.
GAME NOTES: Tulsa aims to take a big step toward capturing the Conference USA regular-season title, as the Golden Hurricane take to the road for a matchup with the UAB Blazers tonight at Bartow Arena.
Tulsa picked up an important 73-69 road victory at Tulane on Saturday, staying within a game of first-place Memphis at 10-4 alongside Southern Miss with two games left on the schedule. The Golden Hurricane gave up an eight-point lead coming down the stretch, but buckled down to make the necessary foul shots in the waning moments to log their third win in four games. Freshman Eric McClellan totaled 15 points and five assists while draining a pair of clutch free throws with 17 seconds remaining. Jordan Clarkson also recorded 15 points, while Kodi Maduka posted a double-double of 12 points and 12 boards.
UAB continued its late-season surge on Saturday, pulling out a 61-57 road victory at East Carolina. It was the Blazers' third consecutive win and sixth in the last seven games overall. Senior Cameron Moore was huge for UAB, pouring in 21 points and grabbing 14 rebounds, while Preston Purifoy scored 15 points and nailed two free throws to help seal the outcome with 10 seconds remaining. The Blazers posted a 37-26 edge on the glass and had a 13-2 advantage in second-chance points. UAB climbed to 8-6 in C-USA play with the victory.
Tulsa has won four of the last five matchups with UAB to take a 7-6 lead in the all-time series. The Blazers' lone win in that period was the last meeting staged at Bartow Arena during the 2009-10 campaign. UAB is 5-0 versus the Golden Hurricane in Birmingham.
The Golden Hurricane are paced by Clarkson's 16.4 points per game, good for second in C-USA, in an offense ranked eighth in the conference in scoring at 66.5 ppg. Scottie Haralson provides solid support as the league's top three- point threat with 84 triples. The junior connects on 40.6 percent of his long- range tries, good for third in league play, and averages 11.4 ppg overall. Steven Idlet plays his part in the Hurricane's success, averaging 10.1 ppg and 5.3 rebounds per game, while Maduka and McClellan both add 7.9 ppg to the mix. Maduka also leads the club in rebounding with 6.5 per contest. Overall, Tulsa owns a healthy advantage on the glass with a 36.2-30.1 edge in the category -- second-best in C-USA. The defense manages to hold the opposition to 62.5 ppg on just 40.9 percent shooting.
The Blazers' offense is driven in large part by Moore, whose 16.3 point average ranks third in C-USA and 10.6 rebounds per contest leads the league. Jordan Swing's 10.7 point average serves as the only other double-digit total on the roster. The Blazers' recent success is in spite of tying for the conference's worst scoring offense at 59.9 ppg and shooting only 42.2 percent from the field. The Blazers are one of only two teams in C-USA with a negative scoring margin, though the defense permits a stingy 60.9 ppg and 41.0 shooting percentage. Purifoy and Ovie Soko help play an important role in the offense, averaging 8.7 and 7.7 ppg, respectively. Purifoy also leads the club with 48 three-pointers on 39.7 percent shooting while Soko chips in a solid 6.7 boards. UAB's overall rebounding effort is usually good enough at a plus-3.4 margin (34.9-31.5).
Wednesday's matchup will test the Golden Hurricane's focus with a chance to challenge Memphis at home for the conference crown on the final day of the regular season. UAB would like nothing more than to spoil that chance and continue its rise through the league ranks with the possibility of a first- round bye for the upcoming C-USA Tournament still in the balance.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Tulsa 63, UAB 62
02/29 10:37:27 ET