BIRMINGHAM – The UAB men’s basketball team roared to life in the final 20 minutes with 56 second-half points to earn a dominant 86-41 victory over Alabama A&M on Sunday afternoon in Bartow Arena.
UAB (4-1) outscored the Bulldogs 56-21 in the second half, blowing the contest open with a 24-2 run over an eight-minute span to turn a 43-29 advantage into a 66-31 lead with 7:29 remaining on the clock.
“It was great second half for the Green and Gold,” head coach Andy Kennedy said. “We settled in in the second half, knocked down some shots and did what we needed to do.”
The Blazers kickstarted their second-half surge with back-to-back layups from Jordan Walker and Tavin Lovan before center Trey Jemison, who finished the contest with a game-high 11 rebounds, slammed home an alley-oop dunk from Tyreke Locure.
A thunderous put-back dunk from Josh LeBlanc, Sr. and a 3-pointer from Michael Ertel also highlighted the UAB run during the second half.
Ertel and graduate guard Quan Jackson paced UAB in second-half scoring, pouring in 11 and 10 points, respectively, to run away with their fourth home victory of the 2021-22 season. Five Blazers finished in double figures in Sunday’s victory, highlighted by guard Jamal Johnson, who poured in a season-high 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting from behind the 3-point line.
Johnson knocked down four of his five 3-pointers in the first half, helping the Blazers enter the halftime break with a double-digit lead.
“The first few games I feel like I’ve been struggling with my shot, so I’m glad that I found it today,” Johnson said. “Coach Kennedy does a great job helping me believe in myself and giving me confidence.
“I just want to be the best I can be for the team. We struggled a little bit in the first half, and with defensive pressure and taking care of the ball more in the second half, we pulled away.”
Point guard Jordan Walker continued his strong start to the year with 11 points and eight assists. Walker leads the Blazers with 17.0 points per game and 5.8 assists per game this season.
UAB’s second-half dominance also helped the Green and Gold limit a Division I opponent to its fewest points since a 61-37 victory at Charlotte in January. The Blazers also made a season-high 13 3-pointers on 50% shooting from behind the arc, marking the first time since Jan. 23, 2020, that UAB has made more than 12 3-pointers in a single game.
UAB will return to the court on Thursday when the Blazers travel to Las Vegas, Nevada, for the 2021 Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational. The Blazers will open the tournament against Mountain West foe New Mexico at 6 p.m. CT on Thanksgiving Day. Thursday’s matchup will be broadcasted live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1).