Men’s Basketball – Blazers rout UH

UAB emerged from the weekend in first place in a tight race in Conference USA after defeating the Cougars 68-55 Saturday at Hofheinz Pavilion behind the play of Aaron Johnson and Jamaar Sanders.

The Cougars (12-15, 4-10 C-USA) had trouble staying in front of Johnson and have lost nine of their last 10 games.

“He’s an outstanding point guard,” head coach James Dickey said. “When he got to the paint, instead of holding our ground and making him shoot it, we made it easy for him to dish where guys had angles. I thought he was terrific at reading that.”

Sanders and freshman guard Preston Purifoy combined for five 3-pointers during a 21-2 stretch for UAB early in the first half that had UH trailing 25-8.

Sanders poured in a game-high 18 points, while Purifoy and Ovie Soko each scored 17.

The absence of second-leading scorer Adam Brown was noticeable for the Cougars as Zamal Nixon and Maurice McNeil had to carry the load, attempting 24-of-50 UH field goals. Brown was suspended indefinitely Friday for a violation of team rules.

“There have been a number of times where we haven’t had everybody,” Nixon said. “I think what we’ve been doing well is picking up the slack for other guys. Alandise (Harris) had to try to fill in for Adam on the wing tonight and his numbers didn’t show he had a great game, but he’ll pick up the slack in the next two games for Adam.”

McNeil was one of the few standout contributors on offense in the game for UH with 14 points. He also added six rebounds and two blocks.

The Cougars are back in action against Tulane (12-15, 2-12 ) at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Fogelman Arena in New Orleans, La.
-By Lance Jaramillo

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