WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2011
Jacksonville set to renew old rivalry at UAB
For about 20 years, there was no bigger game on the conference schedule for the Jacksonville University men’s basketball team than UAB.
On Thursday, that game will be the biggest as it’s the next one when the two teams face off at 8 p.m. (EST) in Bartow Arena.
The former Sun Belt Conference rivals history dates back to 1979 as JU won the first three meetings in the series, but only five after that. One of the most memorable games in the series history is also one of the most remembered in JU history – the 1986 Sun Belt Conference title game.
Sitting squarely on the bubble for a potential at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, the Dolphins took removed all doubt by upsetting the Blazers, 70-69, on their home court for the conference title and automatic bid.
With the rivalry’s renewal, Jacksonville (2-8) and UAB (2-7) are both looking for a breakout performance that harkens back to the glory days of this matchup.
The Dolphins are coming off a hard fought 63-57 loss at Wofford on Sunday, their sixth in a row. Jacksonville fell behind early and trailed by 12 at halftime, but battled back to cut the deficit to four several times in the second half, but were unable to get any closer.
Glenn Powell led the Dolphins comeback, scoring all 12 of his point in the second half, hitting all six shots from the floor.
UAB has lost five of its last six games, including a 68-49 decision on Tuesday night at another former Sun Belt Conference rival, Virginia Commonwealth. Cameron Moore leads the Blazers in scoring (13.6 ppg) and rebounds (9.9 rpg) and is the only Blazer to average double figures in scoring.
A year ago, UAB advanced to the NCAA Tournament with an at-large bid – making it to the First Four in Dayton.
“UAB is a well coached team that plays hard for the entire 40 minutes,” said JU head coach Cliff Warren. “We’re a work in progress and our young team is still evolving as we develop our roles.”
Fans can follow the game on 1010XL, with Terry Norvell calling the action starting with the Bono’s Barbecue Pregame Show at 7:45 p.m.