UAB (8-9) at Southern Miss (14-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 19, 6 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Reed Green Coliseum (8,095) -- Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Television: CSS. Home Record: UAB 7-1, USM 6-0. Away Record: UAB 1-6, USM 6-3. Neutral Record: UAB 0-2, USM 2-1. Conference Record: UAB 0-2, USM 3-0. Series Record: UAB leads, 24-14.
GAME NOTES: The Southern Miss Golden Eagles put their lengthy home winning streak on the line when they host the UAB Blazers in a Conference USA tilt at Reed Green Coliseum.
Southern Miss rallied for a 74-70 come-from-behind win at SMU on Wednesday, marking the team's sixth straight win and eighth in its last nine games overall. Southern Miss is riding a 21-game home winning streak, currently the fifth-longest such streak in the nation. In fact, USM's last loss at Reed Green Coliseum came against UAB on March 2, 2011 (67-66) on Preston Purifoy's 3-pointer with 4.1 seconds remaining.
UAB had its own 11-game home winning streak snapped in last Saturday's 69-53 setback to Memphis. The Blazers have had a full week to recharge their batteries as they hope to avoid a fourth straight loss. However, they have gone just 1-8 outside of Birmingham, Alabama this season.
UAB leads the head-to-head series, 24-14, although the teams have split the last six meetings.
Memphis put together 9-0 and 13-1 runs in the first half of Saturday's matchup, and the Blazers were never able to recover from a 14-point halftime deficit. Rod Rucker recorded his seventh double-double of the season (and third straight) with 16 points and 11 rebounds to go along with three blocks and two steals. Fahro Alihodzic added 12 points, although UAB shot just 31.6 percent as a team and went 0-of-13 from beyond the arc. Rucker (14.3 ppg, 8.4 rpg) has scored in double figures in seven straight games and averaged 17.6 points and 13.3 boards over the last three outings. However, second-leading scorer Jordan Swing (13.4 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and third-leading scorer Terence Jones (10.2 ppg) combined for only nine points on 1-of-15 shooting against the Tigers. The Blazers rank fourth in the conference in scoring this season (73.6 ppg), but Rucker needs more help from his supporting cast than he has gotten of late.
Meanwhile, Southern Miss boasts five different players averaging at least nine points, led by Dwayne Davis with 13.0 ppg and Jerrold Brooks with 10.3 ppg. That duo has combined to knock down nearly half of the team's 3-pointers on the season. As a team, USM is shooting a healthy 48.7 percent from the floor and 37.7 percent from the perimeter. The Golden Eagles also take care of business at the foul line, shooting 71.4 percent. In addition, they have held strong on the defensive end, allowing only 58.1 ppg for a +15.1 scoring margin. Against SMU earlier this week, the Golden Eagles overcame a 19-point deficit for its second-largest comeback in school history. Davis led the way with 17 points, followed by Rashard McGill with 14, and Brooks and Cedric Jenkins with 10 apiece. After shooting just 32.4 percent from the floor in the first half, USM shot a red-hot 73.9 percent in the second stanza, including a 9-of-15 effort from beyond the arc.
Somehow, the Golden Eagles were able to overcome a sluggish start against SMU that saw them trailing 26-7 with eight minutes to play in the first half. Now back on their home floor, look for the Black and Gold to start tonight's game with a more focused effort.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Southern Miss 81, UAB 68
01/19 10:35:46 ET