UAB prevails after valiant Southern Miss comeback
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The Golden Eagle men's basketball team trailed by 22 with eight minutes left and got within eight at the 1:43 mark, but UAB held on for an 86-75 win over Southern Miss on Thursday night inside Bartow Arena.
"I love the effort we put on the floor," head coach Doc Sadler said. "Our guys competed. We had 21 assists out of 29 made baskets. UAB is very explosive, well-coached and they know their roles. We held them to eight three-pointers and we made 15. When UAB needed baskets and stops, they got them."
Freshman LaDavius Draine exploded for a career-high 19 points on 8-for-11 shooting in 23 minutes, hitting a trio of three-pointers as well. He had scored just 30 points over 79 minutes all season prior.
The comeback hit its climax at the 2:37 mark. Back-to-back Draine buckets in the paint and an in-bounds pass steal led to a Kevin Holland three-pointer. At that point, it was a 79-70 deficit.
Southern Miss (9-9, 2-3 C-USA) shot 58 percent in the second half compared to 39 percent in the first. It is the seventh time in eight games the Golden Eagles have improved their mark after the break.
The first half saw Draine make a big entrance with five consecutive points to get Southern Miss within 28-23 at the 6:07 mark, after what had been an 11-point deficit. UAB, however, was able to close out the half with an 18-4 run and 46-27 lead at the break.
"In the first half I thought we played pretty well," Sadler said. "We made a few defensive mistakes and they made us pay for every one of them. Something we haven't done a lot of this year is turn the ball over, and we did that a lot there [seven turnovers]. We missed a few open shots that would have kept us within 10, and then they'd make theirs."
The Blazers (12-5, 3-1 C-USA) improved to 9-1 at home.
Southern Miss will look to bounce back when it plays at Middle Tennessee at 5 p.m. CT on Saturday. The game will also air on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.
-Tyree Griffin recorded his fourth-career 20-point game, all this season. He had 14 in the first half and his 23 tied a career-high set on Dec. 10 versus Troy.
-Griffin also had seven assists, his most since 12 against Rust on Dec. 3. He has been held to fewer than five dimes just twice in 18 games.
-Kevin Holland went 5-for-8 from the three-point line, the third time this season and fourth of his career in which he's made five in a game.
-This comes on the heels of a school-record 7-for-7 outing on Saturday. Over the last four games, he is 17-for-25 from beyond the arc.
-Anfernee Hampton made his second-career start (also Nov. 29 at South Alabama).
-LaDavius Draine's previous career-highs were 18 minutes against Northern Colorado and seven points against Blue Mountain and SUNO.
-Josh Conley recorded his third-career assist as soon as he checked into the game early in the second half.
-The Golden Eagles won the turnover battle for the 17th time in 18 games on the year.