UAB upsets No. 25 Cincy
A fresh and motivated UAB team refused to let No. 25 Cincinnati
rebound or grab rebounds.
Elijah Millsap had 22 points and 15 rebounds Wednesday night
to lead the Blazers to a 64-47 victory over a Bearcats team that
was outhustled from the start and dominated on the boards three
days after a double-overtime loss at cross-town rival Xavier.
The Blazers (9-1) showed no rust from a 12-day layoff and
easily won their eighth straight game.
“The 12 days off really helped us get better as a basketball
team,” coach Mike Davis said. “We knew Cincinnati came off a very
emotional loss the other night versus Xavier. We knew how important
it was for us to come out and really play with a lot of intensity
on defense. It was the best performance we’ve had all season on
The Bearcats (6-3) shot just 32 percent, and for a change
couldn’t compensate for that on the boards, getting outrebounded
“We got totally outplayed,” Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin
said. “We played like a team that wasn’t interested in coming out
tonight. One team was overconfident and the other team was hungry
“It’s tough to win when you can’t make a shot.”
The Bearcats whittled a 15-point halftime deficit to eight
twice in the opening minutes of the second half but trailed by as
many as 25 points before a last-minute spurt.
They missed nine straight shots as UAB rattled off a 14-0 run
to make it a rout. Hasty shots and turnovers helped keep Cincinnati
from staging a comeback.
“When you’re down and playing a quality opponent, the value
of a possession doubles,” Cronin said. “We’ve been doing this all
year. Just giving possessions away. We’ve just outrebounded
everybody and it’s made up for it. Anytime we tried to mount a run,
we just gave the ball away.”
Howard Crawford added 14 points and George Drake had 10 for
the Blazers, who have won 30 straight home games against
nonconference teams and all 23 under Davis.
Millsap added four steals, three assists and two blocked
Lance Stephenson, Cincinnati’s leading scorer, fouled out
with 4:35 left and had eight points. He missed about 9 minutes of
the first half after hurting his left ankle.
The freshman’s fifth foul came on a technical while
protesting a charging call.
Dion Dixon had 13 points — 11 in the second half — and was
the Bearcats’ only double-digit scorer.
“We just couldn’t get in a groove as a team,” said Dixon, who
didn’t think the problem was a hangover from the loss to Xavier.
“Nah, that didn’t have anything to do with it,” he said.
“We’re a young team, we haven’t played many games on the road.”
Cincinnati made only three of 22 3-point attempts and was
beaten to 26 rebounds by UAB’s backcourt of Millsap and JaMarr
“That was an emphasis for us at the beginning of the game,”
Millsap said. “We knew they were third in the nation in rebounding
(margin), so that was one thing we wanted to do, make sure
everybody got to the glass.”
The Bearcats ran into trouble practically from the opening
tip against a team coming off a long break for final exams. UAB
scored 11 of the game’s first 13 points and never allowed any
Stephenson clutched his lower leg on the baseline after
hobbling off the court just over a minute into the game and was
helped to the bench, and shortly after that into the locker room.
He came back with 10:20 remaining in the first half but attempted
only two shots and didn’t score.
“He hurt his ankle and he couldn’t really move the way he
wanted to,” Davis said.
The Bearcats trailed 34-19 at halftime after making seven of
26 shots and getting outrebounded 29-14. Millsap and Crawford
accounted for 27 UAB points.
Millsap had a putback, steal and fast-break dunk in the final
37 seconds to keep Cincinnati from closing the gap before halftime.
Cincinnati’s first two losses had come in overtime by a
combined six points. The Bearcats’ previous low was 59 points
against Gonzaga and they couldn’t come close to that.
“We felt pretty fresh,” said Sanders, who had seven points,
11 rebounds and four assists. “The 12 days off paid a positive
result for us. We wanted to come out and bring the fight to them
and make them play our type of tempo.”