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UAB Prevails as Pirates Go Cold at Crunch Time

From Associated Press Reports with Staff Contributions

Click Here for Box Score

BIRMINGHAM, AL — Gabriel Mikulas had a productive season debut and East Carolina had a chance to spring an upset on the road, but UAB held the Pirates without a field goal for the final 5:55 to claim a 63-54 Conference USA victory.

The Blazers (8-7, 1-1 C-USA), who clung to a 51-50 lead with just under six minutes to play, went on a 12-4 run down the stretch, including six points in six opportunities at the free throw line, to ice the outcome.

Eric Batchelor and Morris Finley fueled the Blazers' spurt in the final minutes and wound up leading UAB in scoring with 14 and 13 points, respectively,.

Mikulas, playing for the first time this season, notched 16 points and grabbed 7 rebounds for the Pirates (6-8, 0-2). The sophomore center/forward from Argentina had been held out of the team's first 13 games because of a complex NCAA ruling relating to games he played for Argentine club and national teams.

Point guard Travis Holcomb-Faye, with 10 points, was the only other ECU player in double figures on a night during which the Pirates held UAB to 37.5 percent shooting but also sputtered offensively themselves.

Pirate coach Bill Herrion praised his team's ball-hawking efforts while directly attributing the loss to the offensive deficiencies.

"I thought the kids played hard and played well enough to win on the defensive end," he said. "I'm just very frustrated with the shooting. Regardless of whatever league you're in, if you want to win basketball games, you have to put the ball in the basket."

Forward Erroyl Bing, who had scored in double figures in 12 of 13 games and came into the contest leading the Pirates in scoring at 16.4 per game, hauled in seven rebounds but was held to eight points.

UAB coach Murray Bartow acknowledged there had been concern in the Blazer camp about the return of Mikulas to to the ECU lineup. But when he tallied up the pluses and minuses of his squad's performance, he was gratified about the final result.

"We shot free throws well, which was good. We tried to get the ball inside more and we were effective at times and we were not effective at times," he said. "... It was a good win and we will take it. We defended well tonight.

"We thought it would be a tough game, with Mikulas coming back, and it was. We needed this one."

Will Campbell and Myron Ransom added 10 points each as UAB placed four players in double figures.

Cedric Davis, making his first start of the season, led the Blazers through a key second-half span, making four baskets in a row during an 8-2 run to give the Blazers a 42-34 lead. Before Tuesday, he had made only four field goals all season.

East Carolina's next game will be Saturday, January 12, when in-state C-USA rival Charlotte pays a noon visit to Williams Arena. The clash, scheduled to be televised on the ESPN Plus package, is the first between the teams since the Pirates joined the conference.

UAB also returns to action on Saturday in a 2 p.m. league game at Southern Miss.

Box Score


East Carolina (6-8)

Bing 3-8 2-5 8, Holcombe-Faye 4-13 1-1 10, Badiane 3-3 0-0 6, Brown 0-8 0-0 0, Hawkins 2-8 0-0 6, Duckett 0-0 0-0 0, Primus 0-5 0-0 0, Foxx 1-2 0-0 2, Boddie 0-1 0-0 0, Moore 3-7 0-0 6, Mikulas 4-8 8-10 16. Totals 20-63 11-16 54.

UAB (8-7)

Ransom 3-10 4-4 10, Davis 4-4 0-0 8, Campbell 3-10 4-5 10, Finley 5-12 2-2 13, Bush 2-6 0-0 5, Arnold 0-2 1-2 1, Batchelor 3-7 6-6 14, Roberson 1-5 0-0 2. Totals 21-56 17-19 63.

Halftime: East Carolina 29; UAB 28.

3-Point goals: East Carolina 3-24 (Bing 0-1, Holcomb-Faye 1-6, Brown 0-4, Hawkins 2-5, Primus 0-4, Foxx 0-1, Boddie 0-1, Moore 0-2); UAB 4-14 (Ransom 0-1, Finley 1-4, Bush 1-3, Arnold 0-1, Batchelor 2-5).

Rebounds: East Carolina 38 (Bing, Mikulas 7); UAB 42 (Davis, Campbell 8).

Assists: East Carolina 13 (Bing 4); UAB 11 (Bush 7).

Total fouls: East Carolina 16, UAB 16.

Fouled out: Davis.

Attendance: 3,206.

Copyright 2002 Associated Press.  All rights reserved.  This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. contributed to this report.

02/23/2007 10:59:29 AM

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