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Men's basketball falls to UAB

By Ryan Glassman     2/20/13 6:00pm

After dropping a nip and tuck contest in West Virginia last week, the Rice men's basketball team continued to be plagued by road woes in Birmingham, Ala., last weekend. The Owls (5-20, 1-10) were blown out Saturday by the University of Alabama, Birmingham, suffering their fifth straight loss this season and falling to 0-9 in their all-time series against the Blazers (12-14, 4-7).

UAB took the lead in the opening minutes on an early 3-pointer, one of 11 shots it converted from behind the arc on the evening. Senior guard Tamir Jackson kept the Owls within striking distance throughout the first half, leading all scorers with 11 points in the opening 20 minutes. Jackson scored seven consecutive points for Rice over a stretch of nearly four minutes, including a jumper with 8:53 remaining in the half to pull the Owls within five. But Rice missed its eight shots following Jackson's run, allowing UAB to pull off a 13-2 run that gave the Blazers a 34-18 advantage late in the half. Rice countered with a 7-0 run to close the half, cutting the deficit to nine at the intermission.

But as has been the case all too often this season, the Owls were unable to sustain their defensive energy in the second half, falling victim to a slow start that pushed the game out of reach. After the Blazers opened the half with back-to-back 3-pointers, leading Head Coach Ben Braun to call a timeout, the hosts extended their lead to 21 points with two more deep balls in the following minutes. UAB shot 7-14 from behind the 3-point line in the second half, including 4-5 during an eight-minute stretch to open the half.

"[UAB] went through a stretch where they shot the ball very well," Braun said. "We really had some momentum going into the locker room, and then they came out and knocked down their first couple shots of the second half. That cushion enabled them to build their lead and play with some confidence."

UAB went on to win by a final score of 80-57, despite Jackson finishing with a game-high 21 points. With his big scoring night in Birmingham, Jackson moved past Torrey Andrews ('90-'94) into seventh place on the all-time scoring list in Rice history. With six more points this weekend, Jackson will pass Greg Hines ('83-'87) in his ascension up the career leaderboards.

The loss this past weekend now drops Rice to 0-12 in games away from Tudor Fieldhouse this season. The Owls have not gone winless away from home in a season since 2000 and will have at least three more opportunities this year to extend that streak. But before its next road game, the team will host Tulane University tomorrow night at Tudor Fieldhouse and will look to avenge a seven-point loss in New Orleans last month. The Green Wave is led by junior forward Josh Davis, one of the frontrunners for the Conference USA Player of the Year. Davis who currently ranks at the top of the league in rebounding and second in scoring. Rice has won three of its last four games against Tulane and leads the all-time series 26-25.

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