Jemison and Walker propel UAB to crucial C-USA victory in North Texas
Jordan “Jelly” Walker was on a mission to give his team a two-possession lead late on the road and landed a clean shot on the rebound after a timely rebound from Quan Jackson after a failed free throw attempt.
He didn’t fall but Trey Jemison, imposing his massive frame, grabbed the offensive board on the miss and sent it straight back to Walker for a second chance.
Walker kept his promise, hitting the shot and three more free throws in the last minute to give the UAB basketball team a critical road victory over the defending conference tournament champion. .
The Blazers exploded out of the gates for a double-digit lead early on, but held on with calm determination in a 69-63 win over North Texas on Thursday, Jan.6, at the Super Pit in Denton.
“I thought the key to the game was for us to dominate them on the glass,” said UAB head coach Andy Kennedy. “Limiting them to just five offensive rebounds when we have 13 creates additional possessions in a game where possessions are a bounty depending on the style of play chosen.”
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UAB entered the game retaining its position in the top 50 of the KenPom (44) and NCAA NET (43) charts and improves to 13-3 overall and 3-0 in the league with its victory in Quad 1 – – UAB is 2- 1 in Quad 1 games this season, with both wins occurring on the road – against North Texas.
Mean Green’s four losses came by allowing their opponent to score more than 60 points.
The Blazers shot 47% overall, 50% at 3 points and 10 of 14 from the charity strip. Defensively, they allowed North Texas to shoot 48 percent from the field but dominated the battle on the glass with a +14 rebound advantage, including 13 offensive boards.
“At the end of the day, not only were we able to chain several saves, but we performed,” Kennedy said. “We handed the ball to the right guy in the right place.”
Walker finished tied with a high of 17 points, including three rebounds, three assists and two steals, and Trey Jemison was a force to be reckoned with in the paint, producing a high of 14 points and six rebounds.
Jemison grabbed a key offensive rebound that gave Walker a nudge to start a decisive 6-2 run with 2:11 remaining.
“Jelly made a few big plays and I think we did a good job finishing the basket to close the game,” said Kennedy.
KJ Buffen added 13 points and six rebounds and Quan Jackson ignored recent struggles to score 11 points, seven rebounds and two steals. Jackson was 2 for 2 on a 3 point range and only had one turnover.
UAB took a 17-6 lead in the first eight minutes of action, but allowed Mean Green to narrow the deficit to just one point on two first-half occasions. The two sides battled throughout the second half, producing five ties and four lead changes before the Blazers regained their advantage with a Tavon Lovan layup and a 3-point Mike Ertel.
Lovan finished with five points, two rebounds and four assists and Ertel made his only shot of the game with the go-ahead 3 points at 5:58 of the second half. Josh LeBlanc contributed six points and eight rebounds.
The Blazers wrap up their two-game Texas road trip against Rice on Saturday, Jan.8, at the Tudor Fieldhouse in Houston. Tipoff is scheduled for 3pm CT on Stadium.