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UAB survives nail-biter with Pirates

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BIRMINGHAM — With Conference USA power Cincinnati looming ahead on the schedule, UAB coach Mike Anderson was concerned that his team might overlook struggling East Carolina.

The Pirates (9-12, 1-10) proved that Anderson's concerns were valid, taking UAB to the final buzzer before falling 72-69 Saturday night.

"We have Cincinnati coming up, and sometimes you can look past a team like East Carolina," Anderson said. "They played with a lot of energy and really took the fight to us."

Yes, they did. And even in the loss, ECU coach Bill Herrion said the signs point to a change for the better for his team in the final weeks of the season.

"If we keep playing the way we're playing, we're going to win some games," said Herrion in post-game remarks on the Pirate Radio Network.

But not this one.

Mo Finley hit a 12-foot fade-away jumpshot from the baseline with 1:02 left to clinch the victory for UAB (15-6, 8-2).

Gabe Kennedy and Demario Eddins scored 16 points each to lead the Blazers, while Finley added 10.

Belton Rivers scored 26 points to lead East Carolina. Mike Cook added 11 points and Erroyl Bing had 10 for the Pirates.

Finley's clutch basket made up for a turnover he had committed just a moment earlier.

A dunk by East Carolina's Moussa Badiane, who spent much of the night swatting away shot attempts by the Blazers, tied the game 69-all with 2:11 left.

On UAB's next possession, Finley tried to pass inside to Kennedy, but the pass went out of bounds and East Carolina called timeout with 1:40 left.

Bing drove inside but missed a short jumper and UAB rebounded to set up what proved to be the game winning shot by Finley.

Finley missed a jumper with 7 seconds remaining, setting up East Carolina's last opportunity. But Sidney Ball intercepted a pass by Cook and was fouled with .03 seconds left. Ball hit one of two free throws and a long desperation pass by East Carolina was batted away at the buzzer.

Next up for ECU is a crucial Wednesday home game with Tulane. Tip-off is 7 p.m. The Pirates are in a three-way battle with the Green Wave and South Florida to avoid finishing in the bottom two spots in the league standings, thus failing to qualify for the C-USA Tournament.


UAB 72, East Carolina 69

Records: East Carolina 9-12, 1-10 C-USA; UAB 15-6, 8-2.

Player             FG      FT     PTS

Bing              2-3     5-8      10
Badiane           3-4     1-2       7
Robinson          1-3     0-0       2
Wiley            3-11     2-2       8
Cook             4-10     3-4      11
Rivers          10-15     1-1      26
McNeil            2-3     1-4       5
Mackay            0-0     0-0       0
Rouse             0-0     0-2       0
Grindley          0-0     0-0       0
Totals          25-49   13-23      69

Player             FG      FT     PTS

Kennedy          7-12     2-2      16
Eddins           7-12     1-3      16
Ball              3-7     2-4       9
Johnson           0-3     0-0       0
Finley           4-13     0-0      10
D. Taylor         3-7     0-1       7
R. Taylor         1-5     1-2       3
Lewis             0-0     1-2       1
Johnson           0-1     2-2       2
Jones             0-0     0-0       0
Brooms            3-6     0-0       8
Tobias            0-2     0-0       0
Totals          26-68    9-16      72

Halftime: East Carolina 39-31.

3-point goals: East Carolina 6-12 (Rivers 5-8,Bing 1-1, Robinson 0-1, Wiley 0-2, ); UAB 7-24 (Broom 2-5, Finley 2-7, Eddins 1-2, Ball 1-3, D. Taylor 1-3, R. Taylor 0-3).

Fouled out: None.

Rebounds: East Carolina 35 (Wiley 10); UAB 40 (Finley, Kennedy 7).

Assists: East Carolina 11 (Cook 4); UAB 18 (Ball, Johnson 5).

Total fouls: East Carolina 16; UAB 16.

Technical fouls:

Attendance: 4,154.

02/23/07 11:01 AM

From Associated Press reports with staff contributions. Copyright 2004. All rights rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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