GAME NOTES: The UAB Blazers will try to keep their perfect home record intact on Thursday night, as the Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners invade Bartow Arena for a Conference USA clash.
UTSA, which is in its first season in C-USA, has gotten off to a strong start in league play with wins over Marshall (90-82) and Charlotte (85-77). The Roadrunners have won three of their last four overall, but are just 6-9, which includes a 1-4 mark on the road. They will continue on to the second leg of a three-game road trip this Saturday against Middle Tennessee.
It was that same Middle Tennessee team that handed UAB an 89-84 loss in overtime last Saturday. The setback ended a modest two-game win streak for the Blazers, who are 9-0 at home, but just 2-4 everywhere else. Next up for UAB is another home date, this time against Texas-El Paso on Saturday.
This bout marks the first-ever meeting between these two teams.
Paced by a game-high 22 points from Devon Agusi, UTSA was able to pull an upset over Charlotte. Agusi was one of five players to finish in double figures for the Roadrunners, who shot 49.2 percent from the floor while forcing 17 turnovers.
Agusi (11.7 ppg) is one of four players averaging more than 10 ppg for the Roadrunners this season. The 6-foot-0 guard has really picked up his play recently, with three 20-point efforts in the last four games. Keon Lewis (14.4 ppg) is still the leading scorer on the roster, although he had only 10 points against Charlotte. Providing added scoring depth are Hyjii Thomas (12.2 ppg) and Jordan Sims (10.9 ppg), although Sims is connecting on just 38.8 percent of his shots from the field. In all the Roadrunners are ranked a disappointing 10th in the conference in scoring (71.9 ppg), while also sitting near the bottom in rebounding (33.4 rpg).
UAB ended regulation on a 9-2 run to force overtime against Middle Tennessee. However, the Blazers ran out of gas in the extra session, attempting just four shots from the floor, compared to the 12 field goal attempts for the victorious Blue Raiders.
Chad Frazier (18.3 ppg, 4.9 apg) did his best, at least as a scorer, in defeat by finishing with a game-high 28 points. However, the 6-foot-4 guard, who is fourth in the league in scoring and fifth in assists, had just a pair of helpers and six turnovers as well. C.J. Washington (14.6 ppg, 7.6 rpg) is the next in line for the Blazers. He tallied 15 points and eight rebounds in the loss to Middle Tennessee. Along with Washington, Rod Rucker (10.7 ppg, 7.3 rpg), Fahro Alihodzic (9.6 ppg, 7.1 rpg) and Robert Williams (9.3 ppg, 6.9 rpg) fill out a rather impressive frontcourt.
With their powerful interior quartet, the 49ers have rebounded better than any team in the country this season (47.7 rpg). That type of advantage will pay dividends against the Roadrunners, who do not have the personnel to match up with the Blazers down low.
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