UH holds off UAB in closing minutes
Just like their last game against Marshall, the Cougars let another double-digit lead slip away.
Unlike last time, however, the Cougars were able to hold off UAB (10-7, 4-1 Conference USA) to come away with a 63-62 victory in the nationally-televised game Sunday in Birmingham, Ala.
The Cougars (9-9, 3-2) stormed to a 44-26 lead midway through the second half before the Blazers rallied with a run of their own.
Both teams played solid defense in the first half and the score remained close. With 2:22 remaining before the break, the Cougars trailed 26-23. Forward Courtney Taylor pump-faked at the three-point line, connected on a 10-foot runner, drew a blocking foul and converted the free throw to tie the game.
That play sparked the Cougars’ offense, and they ended the first half with a 31-26 lead. The break only helped UH, as it exploded to a 21-0 run and led 44-26 with 16:12 remaining the second half.
Naturally, the Cougars relaxed a little bit, and UAB’s gradual comeback started. The Blazers responded with a 31-13 run of their own to tie the game at 57 with 5:26 remaining.
Curl said the key to UAB’s run was the plays of its stars, including guard Jala Harris (26 points).
“Well, they had two great players who just couldn’t miss,” Curl said. “We made our run when they were missing shots and when we stopped making our run, they started making a run, and we couldn’t slow them down. But we did enough to win.”
The teams alternated leads as the game winded down.
After Erica Simpson’s layup gave the Blazers a 62-59 lead, Taylor (16 points) nailed a jumper with two minutes remaining.
Both teams were scoreless until 25 seconds to go when UH guard Porsche Landry dribbled the ball to the top of the key and drove to the basket for a left-handed layup.
Curl, who called a timeout prior to the play, said he felt it was the right play to run.
“I just felt like that that was the best common-sense play we could run. Luckily, it paid off,” Curl said.
The Blazers called a timeout to run a play of their own. UAB gave the ball to Harris, who was guarded by Brittany Mason.
Curl said Mason stepped up on the critical possession.
The Cougars return to action when they face Tulsa (4-15, 0-6) at 7 p.m. Thursday at Hofheinz Pavilion.