UAB Blazes Past Marshall Men, 76-64

Jan. 14, 2006

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Frank Holmes and Marvett McDonald each scored 22 points to lead the UAB Blazers over the Thundering Herd, 76-64, Saturday evening in the Henderson Center.

UAB improves to 12-3, 2-0 in Conference USA play, and has won eight consecutive games. Marshall falls to 7-7, 1-1 in league competition.

The Herd only committed 16 turnovers, the third-fewest against UAB this year on the night - only DePaul (9) and VCU (15) had fewer turnovers against the UAB pressing defense. Meanwhile, Marshall forced UAB into 21 turnovers, which was a season high. The Blazers' previous high was 19 which was set vs. Centenary on December 19.

However, Marshall had trouble stopping UAB on the defensive end of the floor. UAB shot 54.0% from the floor, the second team this season to shoot 50 percent or better against Marshall. Only East Tennessee State (58.3%) eclipsed the 50 percent barrier. The Blazers were 85% from the free-throw line, including 12 straight made free throws to end the game. The Blazers also outrebounded the Herd, 34-30, on the night.

Marshall shot 40% from the field, 35% from beyond-the-arc, and 60% from the free throw line.

"If you look at it, we did not play as physical of a game as we had lately," said head coach Ron Jirsa. "We weren't down in the stance, especially in the first half, and we weren't ready to help, and that has been a big part of what we've been doing.

"We weren't able to get into our offense against the zone, and when we did, we were able to get back into it. But UAB was sharp at the end, and they drove by us and got to the line. We weren't able to stop them. That was the key to the game - we weren't able to stop them."



Marshall and UAB were neck and neck for the first 15:12 of the game; there were four ties and six lead changes during that period. However, with the score tied at 24, UAB ended the half on an 11-2 run and ended the opening stanza on a Marvett McDonald three-pointer as time expired to give the Blazers momentum going into the half.

The Blazers shot 53.7% from the floor in the first half, and scored 13 of their 16 first-half baskets from inside the paint.

In the second half, Marshall cut the Blazer lead to three at 49-46 on a Mark Patton (Barboursville, W.Va.) lay-up, but UAB responded with a 7-2 run to give them a cushion they would use the rest of the way.

Junior forward Travis Aikens (Orlando, Fla.) led the Herd with 16 points. Joe Miles (Forestville, Md.) added 12 points, and Markel Humphrey (Ellenwood, Ga.) chipped in 10 points to close out Marshall's double-digit scorers. Aikens and Mark Patton led MU on the glass with six rebounds apiece. Chris Ross (San Antonio, Texas) also tied his career high with seven assists. He also had seven vs. Evansville (11/26) earlier this season.

"We are still learning," said Jirsa. "UAB is a terrific team and has won eight straight. They start three seniors, a junior and a sophomore, and they look like veteran players. I was very impressed by their point guard. He certainly is in the top two or three in the league. He really runs the club well and has great stamina."

"First off, hats off to our guys for finding a way to win tonight," said UAB head coach Mike Anderson. "Marshall came out with a lot of fight and tenacity, and we were fortunate to have some guys come out with career games. I am very happy with the win."

McDonald and Holmes led UAB with 22 points apiece. Holmes was 9-for-9 from the floor, and set a new career high with his points total. Paul Delaney came off of the Blazer bench to add 14 points.

Marshall returns to the road for a game at Tulsa on Wednesday evening. Tip off is set for 8:05 p.m. EST.