UAB sophomore Tony Toney has become well acquainted with a certain conference rival this season. So much so that all three of his 3-point attempts have come against the same team in two games this season.
Tony said, “The ball came to me, I shot it and it went in.” “Trust your work and it will come.”
Unfortunately, it may be over just as it began with the regular-season series in the rear-view mirror and UAB moving to a new conference next season.
Toney, along with Eric Goins, ignited impressive defense in the second half as the Blazers cruised to a 65-59 win over Louisiana Tech on Thursday, Jan. 26, at Bartow Arena in Birmingham.
UAB head coach Andy Kennedy said, “There’s nothing wrong with winning and it feels good to win.” “I don’t think they’ll send him to the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame for the performance, but we’ll take it. We needed the win.”
UAB entered the game at 82 in the NCAA NET, 79 in the KenPom, and improved to 14–7 overall and 5–5 in C-USA with a regular-season sweep of the Bulldogs, the final regular-season scheduled between It was a season meeting. two programs.
Jordan “Jelly” Walker, the nation’s second leading scorer (23.8 ppg), was unavailable for the fourth straight game due to a foot injury.
The Blazers shot 41.5 percent overall, 25 percent from 3-point range (4-of-16), and were 17-for-30 at the charity stripe. Defensively, UAB held the Bulldogs to 33.9 percent from the field, 33.3 percent on 3-pointers, and forced 14 turnovers that resulted in 17 points.
“The guys worked hard,” Kennedy said. “Defensively, this was as good as we have been. The 1-3-1 was very helpful for us, kept them under 60 points and made enough shots.
Tony finished with 11 points and 3 rebounds, along with a block and a steal, and all of his 3-pointers this season have come against the Bulldogs, including a late game-tying shot at LA Tech. He helped jumpstart a 14–6 run, which UAB used to expand its lead to 9 points late in the second half.
“We had the right guy shooting the right ball,” Kennedy said. “Tony Tony. Boy, he likes L.A. Tech. He made all his 3-pointers against them and big ones too. His energy helped us on both sides of the ball.”
Eric Gaines had a team-high 19 points, including 6 assists and 3 steals, and scored 16 of his points in the second half.
The Blazers fell behind 16–10 early, while enduring a 3:04 scoring drought about halfway through the first half, but responded with a 14–8 run and pulled away in a single possession in less than four minutes. . UAB went 2-of-4 from the field in the final five minutes, but held the Bulldogs scoreless for the final 2:33 of the opening period.
“It’s very difficult when you don’t make a shot,” Kennedy said. “You hate to talk about it all the time but here I am talking about it. We’re not just making shots.
KJ Buffen earned his fourth double-double of the season, scoring 11 points and grabbing 13 rebounds with 2 blocks, and Trey Jameson had 12 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks. Ledarrius Brewer finished with 9 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists, and Javion Davis had 3 points, 3 rebounds and 3 steals.
Brewer and Jamison combined for 7 points during an 11–2 second-half run that saw UAB take the lead for the first time after the first minute of play.
“The way Louisiana Tech plays, they have four guys sitting in the paint and doubling the post every time,” Kennedy said. “When Tre is double-teamed like that, KJ did a good job of finding spots and finishing for us.”
The Blazers hit the road at Tudor Fieldhouse in Houston, Texas on Saturday, January 28 to face Rice. Tip-off is scheduled for 2PM CT on ESPN+.