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Blazer Almanac - March 12
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Blazer Almanac - March 12
March 12

UAB is 3-5 in games played on March 12. We've got an NCAA game, an NIT game, a Great Midwest tournament game, and 5 CUSA tournament games. And two overtime games.

1987 - By virtue of winning the Sun Belt Tournament, UAB received the 11th seed in the NCAA tournament. The Blazers got the good news that they would be playing the first and second rounds on their home court at the BJCC Arena. Their first round opponent was Providence, coached by a young Rick Pitino and led by an exciting point guard named Billy Donovan. UAB fans were excited about the draw. Win two home games and the brackets set them up for a possible Sweet 16 matchup against Alabama. The road seemed easier when Austin Peay upset #3 seed Illinois.

The week before the tournament started, the festivities took a somber tone when Pitino's sixth month old son died of an ailment he had fought since birth. Pitino decided to coach anyway, but stayed away from the press and out of the limelight. The three point shot was only a year old and teams were still learning how to utilize it. Providence averaged 20 points a game from three point range and Pitino employed a pressing defense that gave guards fits. Pre game quotes by UAB players praised Pitino's style and called him a coach ahead of his time. Tracy Foster said "we take a three point shot if it is given to us. Providence works for the three pointer, shooting off picks at the three point line. Providence was one of the first teams to utilize the three pointer as a part of their offense.

The Blazers were favored by 1 1/2. Vegas could not have been more wrong. UAB had no answer for Donovan. Foster and James Ponder got in foul trouble immediately, and their subs could not keep up with Donovan who either blew by them or pulled up for three. Donovan was 12 of 17 from the field and hit 6 of 9 from three point range. He scored 35 points and 12 assists as Providence won 90-68.

After the game, the almost annual rumors of Coach Bartow surfaced. This time San Diego State was the rumored destination. These rumors had some fire, because Bartow was good friends with the San Diego State AD. Bartow had met the previous year with USC about that head coaching job. In past years, Memphis, Kentucky, Miami and Arizona State had shown interest. It was a critical time for UAB. If Bartow left, football would be off the table. He would be leaving behind the best recruiting class (Larry Rembert, Alan Ogg, and Barry Bearden) and he would be leaving a new on campus arena in the early stages of construction. A few days later, Bartow admitted he had been contacted, but he was not a candidate. UAB boosters began putting together a $1 million dollar retirement package. There were no serious rumors from then until he retired nine years later.

1992 - The very first Great Midwest Tournament was held in Chicago. UAB had finished fifth out of six spots and faced the fourth seed, Memphis, who had won both regular season games. Elbert Rogers had been named to the First Team All Conference and Stanley Jackson had been named Second Team. UAB came out shooting poorly. They shot 21% in the first half and 25% in the second half. Memphis led by as many as 21 points. UAB lost 79-67.

1997 - The Blazers had made it to the semi finals before losing in the CUSA tournament. As a result, they were invited to the NIT tournament in Murry Bartow's first year. Their first round matchup was to play at TCU, coached by Billy Tubby and 13-3 at home. TCU averaged 84 points a game and played at a fast tempo. The Blazers, despite being up by 7 early, could not control the tempo. TCU led by 14 at the half and controlled the second half. TCU had 16 steals in the game and won 82-76. Carlos Williams had his 32nd double double of his career and won 82-76. Murry Bartow completed his first season as a coach 18-14.

2003 - The 2003 CUSA tournament was held in Louisville. UAB had finished the regular season 8-8 and was the 8th seed. Mo Finley had been named 2nd team All Conference and Demario Eddins was on the All Freshman team. Their first round opponent was the ninth seed Charlotte. Eric Bush and Morris Finley scored 31 of UAB's 39 first half points and the Blazers led by 5 at the half. In the second half, UAB pulled ahead and won 85-61. Bush finished with 21 points and Finley finished with 17.

2004 - UAB, the 4th seed had advanced to the semi finals by beating Charlotte. DePaul and UAB were two of five teams who had tied for the regular season championship. Due to tiebreakers, DePaul was the #1 seed. UAB's constant pressure gave them a 17 point lead early in the second half. The Blue Demons had 20 turnovers by the 10 minute point of the second half, but did not not turn it over for the rest of the game. DePaul went on a 15-2 run to cut the lead to three. DePaul pushed ahead by five with 1:35 to go in regulation. Mo Finley hit a three pointer and a jumper to tie the game and send the game to overtime. In overtime, there was only one field goal scored as both teams exchanged leads six times at the free throw line. DePaul hit two free throws with 5.3 seconds left and won the game 75-74 in overtime.

2009 - UAB was the third seed at the 2009 CUSA tournament held in Memphis, Tennessee. Robert Vaden and Paul Delaney had been named second team All Conference, and Lawrence Kinnard was Third Team. Delaney had been named to the All Defensive Team. UAB's quarterfinal opponent was Southern Miss, who was the 11th seed who had advanced by upsetting Central Florida by 24 points. Southern Miss almost pulled another upset. UAB started out slow and went over ten minutes in the first half without a field goal. Southern Miss led by six at the half. Trailing by six with 6:34 left in regulation, UAB went on a 7-0 run and took a one point lead. Southern Miss pulled ahead by three, but Paul Delaney hit a three pointer with 4.7 seconds left to send the game to overtime. In overtime, there seven lead changes and two ties. Delaney was the hero again when he scored a layup with one second left to give UAB a 74-73 win in overtime. Delaney scored 21 points in the win. Robert Vaden had 20 points.

2014 - The 2014 CUSA tournament was held in El Paso. UAB was the 8th seed. Chad Frazier had received the only post season award as the 1st Team All Conference. The Blazers first opponent was the #9 seed Charlotte. UAB was without starters CJ Washington and Rod Rucker for undisclosed reasons. UAB shot poorly and lost 80-70. UAB's season ended 18-13.

2015 - The following year, UAB was hosting the CUSA tournament. Post season awards had named Robert Brown Third team All Conference and Chris Cokley 6th Man of the year. Nick Norton and William Lee had been named to the All Freshman team. The Blazers had struggled early in the season, going 4-9 in the non conference schedule. They had recovered in the conference season to win the fourth seed. Their quarterfinal opponent was the 5th seed Western Kentucky. The game had 13 lead changes and was a nail biter throughout. Neither team led by more than six points. Western Kentucky had a four point lead heading into the final moment. With 52 seconds left, Nick Norton cut the lead to one with a three pointer. Norton had another huge play when he forced WKU into a five second violation. UAB had the ball with 37 seconds left. Robert Brown put UAB up with 18.9 seconds left when he hit a contested jumper. UAB won the game 53-52.
03-12-2018 09:49 AM
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