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Monday, January 15, 2007

Memphis v. UAB Preview

UAB Set To Take On Conference USA Rival No. 19/20 Memphis
Blazers and Tigers will meet for 33rd time in series history

Jan. 15, 2007

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The UAB men's basketball team will be playing its third road Conference USA game in four games this season when it travels to Memphis, Tenn. to take on the No. 19/20 Memphis Tigers on Tuesday, Jan. 16, at 8 p.m. CT. The game will be televised nationally on CSTV, with Tom Hart and Pete Gillen on the call.

The radio broadcast can be heard on the Blazers ISP Sports Network, beginning with the pre-game show at 7:30 p.m. CT. Birmingham and Huntsville listeners can follow all the action on WYDE 101.1 FM. The broadcast can also be heard on WIQR 1410 AM in Montgomery/Prattville and 98.3 FM WTRB in Ashland/Talladega.

The Blazers will be looking for their first win at Memphis since a 91-83 victory on Jan. 2, 1999, a span of seven games. The game marks the 33rd meeting between the two teams, with the Tigers holding a 22-10 advantage in the series. However, UAB has won three of the last five overall between the two teams.

Scouting Memphis
Memphis enters Monday night's contest sporting a 13-3 overall record on the season, and are 3-0 in C-USA play. The Tigers are coming off a hard-fought 75-62 win at Southern Miss last Saturday. The victory marked Memphis' fifth consecutive win, and seventh win over its last eight contests.

The Tigers are led on the year by sophomore guard Chris Douglas-Roberts, who leads the team with 15.7 points per game, including scoring a game-high 23 points in the win over the Golden Eagles. Senior guard Jeremy Hunt (13.4 ppg) and freshman forward Robert Dozier (11.3 ppg) also average double figures for the Tigers. Junior forward Jeremy Dorsey leads the team with 9.6 boards a game, while also contributing 7.9 points and a team-leading 2.6 blocks per contest.

Head coach John Calipari is in his seventh year at the helm of the Memphis basketball program. Calipari has compiled an impressive record of 161-62 (.722) while with the Tigers, and a 354-133 (.727) overall record in 15 seasons as a head coach.

Scouting UAB
UAB will enter its contest at Memphis with an overall record of 10-7, and a 2-1 mark in league play. The Blazers are coming off their first road league victory of the season, a 67-60 win at Tulane last Saturday. Junior guard Paul Delaney III, a two-time recipient this season of the Conference USA Player of the Week, leads the Blazers in points (17.6) and assists (5.7) per game, while also ranking fourth on the team with 4.8 boards a contest.

Along with Delaney, senior guard Wen Mukubu and sophomore forward Lawrence Kinnard are also threats on offense. Mukubu averages 13.9 points per contest and a team-best 48.0 percent from beyond the arc. Kinnard ranks third on the team with 12.8 points per game, and also pulls down a team-leading 5.8 rebounds a game.

UAB head coach Mike Davis enters the game against the Tigers with an overall record of 125-86 (.592) in his seventh season as a head coach, and is 10-7 (.588) in his first season at UAB.

A UAB Win Would:
• Improve UAB's record to 11-7 overall and 3-1 in Conference USA play.

• Be the first UAB win ever in the FedEx Forum, and the first in Memphis since a 91-83 victory on Jan. 2, 1999 (seven straight losses).

• Be only the third win at Memphis in school history (17th game).

• Mark the 126th win in coach Mike Davis' career (212 games).

Last Time Out
Sophomore forward Lawrence Kinnard led all scorers with a career-high 25 points and eight rebounds to lead the UAB men's basketball team to a 67-60 victory against Tulane. Junior guard Paul Delaney III added 21 points, nine assists and four steals in the winning effort. The victory snapped a four-game losing streak for the Blazers at Tulane dating back to the 2000-01 season. Tulane led for a majority of the first half and built its largest lead of six points with 2:24 remaining in the first half. However, UAB rallied behind Kinnard, who finished with 14 points in the opening half. Kinnard and Tulane junior Matt Wheaton traded three-pointers to open the second half and tied the game for the sixth time at 31 apiece. Kinnard then buried another trey to give UAB the lead for good at the 17-minute mark. However, Tulane, which trailed by as many as 10 points, never gave up. The Green Wave scraped back and Sims' trey at the 7:39 mark brought TU to within four points. After a pair of free throws by Kinnard, Sims was fouled and once again pulled Tulane to within striking distance when he converted both attempts. UAB responded on a Mike Davis Jr. trey with 4:50 remaining that gave the Blazers an eight-point cushion and Tulane was never able to get any closer than five points during the remaining minutes.

UAB-Memphis A Year Ago
The Blazers and TIgers met on three occasions a year ago, with Memphis taking two of the three contests. In the first meeting, UAB fell 73-66 on Jan. 26 at Memphis. However, the Blazers returned the favor on March 2, when they defeated then-No. 3 Memphis, 80-74 in Bartow Arena. It would be Memphis that had the last laugh however, winning the third contest between the two teams in the Conference USA championship game in Memphis, Tenn. by a score of 57-46. Paul Delaney III led the Blazers in the three contests, averaging 14.0 ppg, while Wen Mukubu collected an average of 10.0 ppg.

100-Assist Mark
With nine assists in the overtime victory against UCF last Wednesday, junior guard Paul Delaney III increased his season total to 97 helpers this season, an average of 5.7 assists per game - a number that leads Conference USA. With three more assists this season, Delaney will reach the century mark in assists for the first time in his career. More importantly, it is the seventh consecutive season a Blazer has boasted more than 100 dimes in a season. The last time a UAB player did not get at least 100 assists in a campaign came during the 1999-2000 season, when LeAndrew Bass led the team with 90 helpers on the year.

Kinnard Earns First Career POW Award
Sophomore forward Lawrence Kinnard was tabbed the Co-Conference USA Player of the Week, league officials announced Monday. Kinnard, who shares the award with Houston's Robert McKiver, earns his first career award, and UAB's third award this season, which is tied for tops in the conference (Houston). Kinnard had a huge week in leading the Blazers to two Conference USA victories. Kinnard began the week by leading UAB to a 74-64 overtime win against UCF on Jan. 10. Kinnard had a game-high 21 points on 8-of-14 from the floor and 4-of-8 from three-point range, all of which were career highs. He also had three blocks and two steals in the victory over the Golden Knights. Kinnard then one-upped that performance by setting a new career best of 25 points in the 67-60 win at Tulane. Kinnard also matched his career highs of 8-of-14 shooting from the floor and 4-of-8 from beyond the arc in the contest. For the week, the Memphis, Tenn. native averaged an impressive 23.5 points, while also collecting 4.0 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 1.5 steals per contest. He also hit 16-of-28 baskets from the floor (.571) and 8-of-16 from three-point range (.500).

Second Half Team
UAB has shown it is a second half team this year. Through 17 games this season, the Blazers have scored a total of 489 first half points, an average of only 28.8 points. However, the second half is a different story. UAB has scored a total of 604 points in the second half this year, which averages out to 35.5 points, a difference of almost seven points better a game.

Duo Double-Double
Wen Mukubu and Paul Delaney III each recorded a double-double in the Blazers' 74-64 overtime win over UCF. It marked the first time two UAB players recorded a double-double in the same game since Gabe Kennedy (12 pts., 11 reb.) and Sidney Ball (11 pts., 14 reb.) achieved the feat against Georgia Southern on Nov. 24, 2003.

Mukubu recorded his first career double-double with his 18 points and 10 rebounds in the contests, while Delaney's 18 points and 11 assists marked his third career double-double - all coming this season. In fact, Delaney's three double-doubles this season are tied for second-most in the league this season.

Three Amigos
When Paul Delaney III, Lawrence Kinnard and Wen Mukubu reach double figures, good things usually occur. The top three scorers on this year's team have accomplished the feat on eight occasions this season, winning six of those contests. The only time the Blazers lost a game when the trio hit double digits was to Washington State (71-60) and at Wyoming (93-87). Overall, UAB has won four straight times when the threesome score in double figures in a game.

As Cool As Ice
Through 17 games this season, there is one thing that is clear, junior guard Paul Delaney III wants the ball in his hands when the game is on the line. Most recently, he proved that point in the Blazers' 74-64 victory over UCF last Wednesday. With approximately a minute remaining and the Blazers trailing by five, Delaney would score 12 of the Blazers' last 28 points during the six-minute span, including the game-tying basket at the buzzer to send the game in overtime and the go ahead basket during the extra session. The Decatur, Ga. native did the same thing when the Blazers won at Cincinnati on Dec. 2. With his team trailing by five, 56-51, with 37 seconds remaining, Delaney scored the game's final eight points to lead the Blazers to a 59-57 victory.

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