BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — C.J. Washington scored 14 of his game-high 20 points in the second half to help UAB pull away from UTSA in the final period for a 78-65 win on Thursday night at Bartow Arena.
Jordan Sims led the Roadrunners, who fell to 6-10 overall and 2-1 in Conference USA action, with 14 points and a season-high seven rebounds. Devon Agusi totaled 13 points and three assists, while Keon Lewis came off the bench to score 12 points.
UTSA was limited to just 32.4 percent shooting after being held to 24.2 percent in the second half. Facing the nation’s top rebounding team, the Roadrunners won the battle of the boards, 47-42, and scored 25 second-chance points off 22 offensive rebounds.
Meanwhile, Washington pulled down 11 rebounds to register his sixth double-double of the season for the Blazers (12-4, 1-1 C-USA), who won their 10th consecutive home game. Fahro Alihodzic scored 17 points, while Robert Williams had 10 points and five assists.
UAB shot 43.1 percent in the contest and racked up 23 assists on its 28 baskets. The home squad also held a 34-24 edge in the paint.
The Blazers led in the early minutes with a 3-pointer to start the contest and after Edrico McGregor put in the first of his four first-half baskets, another Blazer triple and a jumper gave the home squad a quick 8-2 lead.
An Alihodzic basket with 10:52 to go in the first half pushed the UAB lead to 17-9, before the Roadrunners responded with six consecutive points on a Lewis three-point play and a trey from Tyler Wood.
UAB regained a two-possession advantage, but the Birds hung around thanks to back-to-back 3-pointers by Sims and a 17-foot jumper from James Williams tied the score at 25.
On the Roadrunners’ next possession, McGregor went to work inside and came away with a layup to give the visitors their first lead, 27-26, and the senior answered a Denzel Watts bucket with another to go up by a point with just less than four minutes until halftime.
However, it would prove to be UTSA’s only leads of the night as an Alihodzic layup ignited a 10-0 UAB run for a 38-29 advantage. Hyjii Thomas found Kaj-Björn Sherman for a three-point play to stop the spurt. Devon Agusi then hit a pair of freebies and Phillip Jones connected on a jumper to trim the UAB lead to 42-36 at intermission.
The Roadrunners pulled within five, 44-39, on a 3-pointer from Williams with 18:17 to play, but would get no closer the rest of the way.
UAB hit 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions minutes later to push the advantage to double digits, 55-45. A three-point play by Sherman sliced the deficit to eight, 56-48, with 12:11 to go, but Alihodzic hit a pair of free throws with 11:16 on the clock and the Blazers kept at least a 10-point cushion from there.
UTSA will be back in action for a 5 p.m. contest on Saturday at Middle Tennessee (11-6, 1-1 C-USA).