Panthers snap conference losing streak, defeat UAB

A double-double for Rakeem Buckles helped lift the Panthers past conference foe UAB and snap their two-game losing streak, 78-73.

Buckles recorded his 10th double-double of the season, finishing the night with 21 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out of the game.

“I had a good week of practice so I kind of applied myself in this game to do everything I can so we get this win,” Buckles said. “To lose those two out of towns, I said to myself, ‘Let’s get to work and let’s go get this win.'”

Three other Panthers reached double figures in the win, Tymell Murphy (16), Dennis Mavin (14) and Jerome Frink (13).

It was a slow start for both the Panthers and Blazers as they went nearly 3 and a half minutes before UAB scored the first points of the night.

The offense continued to struggle in the start for both squads throughout, ending the first half with a combined 14 turnovers.

Going into the locker room trailing 32-27, the Panthers were shooting 34 percent from field, while the Blazers shot 43 percent.

Prior to their game against Charlotte, where Buckles finished with 20 points, he struggled on offense but some extra push for Head Coach Anthony Evans has seemed to helped the Miami native.

“Just coach getting on me about better shot selection and getting to my spot. We started working on that in practice,” Buckles said. “It kind of carried over to the game.”

The Panthers came out swinging in the second half, going on a 8-0 run.

Murphy struggled at times throughout the night but with the score being close throughout the night, was able to rebound and come up big when his team needed him.

“He’s one of our better players, our leading scorer and we knew if we could stay within range going into halftime we’d be OK because we have him for the second half,” Evans said. “He attacked, he does that all the time. He attacked, he got to the free throw line, he made some big baskets, he made the big steal at the end so, you know, he’s a senior. He did a great job for us.”

The Panthers were able to control momentum throughout the second half, holding the Blazers to 40 percent from the floor while shooting 59.4 percent themselves.

Going into the night, the Blazers led the nation with 46.7 rebounds per game but were held to just 35, including 17 in the first half.

“We did some drills in practice and I think that really helped us out competing, for rebounds and things of that nature,” Evans said. “We knew that they were a good rebounding team and that was something that we had to take away. It was a focus that we looked at.”

The Panthers also ended the night shooting 50 percent from behind the arc.

The team will have a day off before they face conference opponent Middle Tennessee, Saturday.

About the Author

Patrick Chalvire
: Radio Host for Panther Sports Talk Live. Assistant Sports Director for The Beacon. Majoring in Communication Arts. Sports fan and aspiring anchor.

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