The Mocs were without Z Mason yet again, but that did not deter them from keeping up with the high powered Blazers for much of the game.
The Mocs were within single digits with under four minutes left against the second best team they have played this year. The Blazers then went on an 11-2 run to put the game away.
The Mocs could not shoot. They took 62 shots on the night and a full 30 of them were from three point range. Given that there was no Z Mason, that was not particularly surprising. The Mocs are not a good three point shooting team. If the Martynas Bareika that showed up against Northern Kentucky had shown up tonight, the Mocs may have won. Instead, Bareika made 3 of 14 from the floor and 2 of 8 from three point range, while scoring 11 points after the 29 against the Norse. The Mocs desperately needed someone to be red hot. Instead, Bareika and Eric Robertson each scored 11 and no one else scored in double figures.
The Mocs were down in rebounding 28-12 at one point. In the end, they were only outrebounded 46-30. That means that they matched the Blazers in the last 28 minutes at 18, which, again, is respectable considering the size of the Blazers.
Truthfully, it may have been one of the Mocs best defensive performances of the year. They held UAB to just 67 points. They held them to 38.2% shooting in the first half from the floor. In the second half, the Blazers drove more to the basket, and shot 57.1% from the floor.
Chad Frazier was forced to play 40 minutes and Rod Rucker played 38. That the Mocs forced the Blazers to play a lot of minutes was rather surprising and pleasing. Casey Jones and Gee McGhee each played reasonably well, scoring 8 points each.
The effort was obviously there tonight. That's a good thing. The Mocs have eleven days off now as they prepare for the Dr Pepper Classic. This comes at a good time. The Mocs played pretty well and have some things to build on as they practice these next eleven days. They haven't won many games lately. But the effort is still there. The Dr Pepper Classic has been a turning point in the past. We'll see if it this year or not.