Yesterday, if I were to tell you the Conference USA tournament champion would beat the Big 12 conference champion, you would have called me crazy. But today, it’s the truth. UAB has officially busted everyone’s bracket and completed the first upset of the tourney by beating Iowa State, 60-57.
In a game where both teams shot very poorly from the field, the Blazers were able to outlast the Cyclones. The Blazers were able to dominate the boards on both ends of the court. UAB out rebounded ISU 52-37, with 19 rebounds coming in the offensive end.
The Cyclones leading scorer, Georges Niang, struggled throughout the game only making four of his 15 shots. When the Cyclones were down in the final minute, they turned to Niang but he was unable to take the lead back for his team.
The Blazers withstood a tough start after being down 12-2 right off the tip. UAB was able to come back and take the lead and it was close from then on out. The Blazers led by 3 at half, but did not hold the lead throughout the second half. The team made only 1 field goal in the first 7:30 of the second half, but we’re able to recover shortly after. Give the Blazers credit. Jerod Haase had his team ready to play.
William Lee, the freshman all-conference forward, hit the biggest shot of his young career in today’s game. He provided his team the points it needed and hit the go ahead bucket in the last half minute. Lee scored 14 and grabbed 12 boards on the day and shot 6 for 11 on a day when no one else could hit anything. If not for key plays made by Lee, this game would have been different.
After letting up a 6-0 run by the Cyclones, the Blazers found themselves down 4 in the final minutes. Then UAB refused to lose. A huge and-1 put back by Lee closed the gap to 2. UAB then locked down the Cyclones and forced a shot clock violation. After a time-out after the stoppage in play, the Blazers hit an enormous 3 to take the lead by 1. Iowa State recovered for another basket, but could not answer after another made jumper by Lee.
Strange, Yet True
UAB won the game despite shooting worse from the field, having more turnovers, and having less assists than Iowa State. This was the first tournament win for the Blazers since 2005.
No. 14 UAB will take on the the winner of the SMU/UCLA game later today.
Iowa State ends its season as the Big 12 tournament champion with a 25-9 record.