By Basketball | UAB
Michael Ertel and Jalen Benjamincombined for 38 points as UAB outscored UTEP 43-26 in the 2nd half in their 75-60 victory on Saturday evening at Bartow Arena. With the win, the Blazers improve to 16-2 overall and 9-1 in Conference USA play.
Souley Boum led UTEP (8-10, 4-8 C-USA) with 17 points.
The 1st half was tight the whole way. The teams exchanged leads three times and the contest was tied six times – the last coming on a 3-pointer from Jackson with 27 seconds remaining. Keonte Kennedy's jumper as time expired sent the Miners into halftime with a 34-32 lead.
With UTEP ahead by one point at 13:50 of the 2nd half, UAB would go on a 16-4 run over the next 6:16. Benjamin's 3-pointer capped the rally giving the Blazers a 60-49 advantage at 7:34. The Blazers' lead would reach 15 points three times, the last coming as Ertel's layup closed out the game's scoring.
"We had a tremendous 2nd half push today," said head coach Andy Kennedy. "When Mike and Jalen can shoot the ball like they did in the 2nd half, it really gives our team the chance to take the next step."
In the 2nd half, Benjamin scored 14 of his 19 points and Ertel 13 of his 19. UAB shot 61.5% (16-of-26) and made 83.3% from 3-point range (5-of-6).
For the game, the Blazers shot 53.8% from the field and 61.5% from 3-point range, their best effort this season.
"We get multiple contributions from different people. Tonight, it was Kassim, it was Mike, it was Jalen. They were the best versions of themselves. We challenge guys every day to be the best version of yourself, and if you do that, then this team has the opportunity to play some meaningful basketball at the end of February and into March."
Next up for UAB is Louisiana Tech on Feb. 12-13. The Bulldogs (15-6, 8-4 C-USA) are coming off a split against North Texas. LA Tech has a 10-1 home mark this season, with their only loss coming to Marshall on Jan. 2. Both contests will air on Stadium.
Coach Bartow's squads in 1985-86 and 1993-94 teams as well as the 2009-10 team also began the season 16-2
The victory also ties the best Conference USA start with the 2015-16 team
UAB improves to 10-2 against UTEP in Birmingham