Birmingham, Ala. – The USC Upstate men’s basketball team fell to the UAB Blazers 96-54 Wednesday evening in non-conference action inside Bartow Arena.
Upstate falls to 3-10 on the season while UAB improves to 7-3 overall.
Michael Buchanan scored a season-high 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting to lead the Spartans offensively. Philip Whittington came off the bench to score 13 points, falling just two shy of tying his career-high, after going 6-for-10 from the field. Buchanan also grabbed a team-high six rebounds while Jure Span dished out four assists.
Dirk Williams finished with a game-high 22 points for the Blazers and led four players in double-figures. Tosin Mehinti and William Lee each had double-doubles, and Nick Norton contributed 10 assists.
Malik Moore picked up the first five points for Upstate over the opening 1:32 as the Spartans led 5-2 after his three at the 18:28 mark. UAB trimmed its deficit down to one the following possession on a layup by Chris Cokley, but Upstate answered with the next four points to go back in front 9-4 with 16:58 left after a pair of free throws by Buchanan.
Moore gave the Spartans their largest lead of the game with 14:19 to go after his free throw made the score 15-8. The Blazers would then go on a 10-0 run over the next 3:38 to take their first lead of the game at 18-15 on a three by Denzell Watts with 12:13 left.
UAB led by as many as 10 twice over the final 5:35 of the first half with the last coming with 2:55 to go on a jumper by Lee putting the score at 37-27. Moore and Buchanan scored four straight for Upstate to cut the Blazer lead to 37-31 with 10 seconds left before intermission. Lee’s tip-in basket with one second on the clock sent UAB into halftime leading the Spartans 39-31.
The Blazers outscored the Spartans 24-4 over the first 6:58 of the second half and led 63-35 after a three-pointer by Lee. Upstate would get as close as 24 twice the rest of the way. Holmes connected on a jumper at the 11:19 mark to cut the UAB advantage to 63-39, and later added a three to make it 74-50 with under six minutes left in the game.
The Blazers finished the game on a 22-4 run to put the final score at 96-54. Buchanan and Jacob Schulte compiled the final four points for the Spartans. Thomas Smallwood gave UAB its largest lead of the game with 22 seconds remaining on his three-pointer.
Upstate posted a 36.7% (22-of-60) shooting percentage while the Blazers went 38-of-70 for a 54.3% clip.
The Spartans travel to Fort Collins, Colo. on Monday, Dec. 21 to face Colorado State at 9 p.m. EST.