UAB outlasts MTSU in triple overtime; advance to C-USA Championship

An exercise in attrition quickly materialized into an instant classic.

With 1:05 remaining in the third overtime session and the UAB basketball team leading by seven points, transfer sophomore Quan Jackson refused to let his college career end after a missed shot of the opposition.

He rushed, scolded and rushed for the loose ball when he hit the pitch, starting a 5-0 push to seal a physically demanding win and extend his career by at least one more game .

The Blazers had two players with at least 26 points, two players fouling in the final moments and Jackson recording a second straight double-double as they earned a 102-98 triple-overtime win over Middle Tennessee State in the semi-finals. C-USA tournament final. , Friday, March 11, at The Star in Frisco, Texas

“This is my 15th year as a head coach,” UAB head coach Andy Kennedy said. “I coached nearly 500 games as a head coach. I was an assistant for another 10 years, so 300 more years and I played for four years. I’ve been to many matches and I don’t think I’ve ever been to one like this.

“A very unique basketball game,” he added. “There was so much at stake knowing that if you lose it could be your last game. Both teams really fought. Was it a perfectly played game, of course not? The competitive spirit of our group is our most admirable characteristic.

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The Blazers shot 44 percent overall, 35 percent on 3-pointers and 29 for 36 at the charity strip. Defensively, UAB held the Blue Raiders to 41 percent from the field, 30 percent from 3 points, and forced 16 turnovers that resulted in 19 points.

“Ultimately, it turned into WWE,” Kennedy said. “In case the game wasn’t entertaining enough, let’s pull some technical fouls out of thin air. Let’s do this just to add some drama to it. Crazy game and I’m glad we could stay another night.”

Jordan “Jelly” Walker, named C-USA Player of the Year earlier this week, was named the game’s most valuable player after posting 40 points, 11 of 29 from the field and 5 of 16 from 3 points. . range, and added six rebounds and three assists. He was also a perfect 13 for 13 from the free throw line.

Walker scored nine points in each half and the remaining 22 points in overtime. He hit his second 3-pointer of the game on a field goal with 7.9 seconds left in regulation time and made two free throws at the end of second overtime to tie the game at 82-82 heading into third and last extension. , where he scored 11 of UAB’s 20 points.

Walker’s 40 points are the second of any player in C-USA tournament history.

“I say all the time, and I don’t want to sound competitive, it’s an honor for my teammates and certainly for AK,” Walker said. “I don’t know how he does it, but he finds ways for me. He always tells me, ‘let me help you.; A lot of people want to stop me, it’s respectful, and he finds great ways to open me up and my teammates find ways to open me up.[peopleareouttostopmeit’srespectfulandhefindsgreatwaystogetmeopenandmyteammatesfindwaystogetmeopen”[peopleareouttostopmeit’srespectfulandhefindsgreatwaystogetmeopenandmyteammatesfindwaystogetmeopen”

“I don’t really want to congratulate myself because without my teammates and Andy Kennedy, there wouldn’t be Jelly like this,” Walker said. “And of course God, of course. Without those three, there is no Jelly performance and 40 points.

Jackson recorded his second straight double-double and fourth of the season, producing 16 points on 6-for-11 shooting while adding 10 rebounds and four steals. He scored a starting field goal in the final minute of the first overtime and cut the lead to four points in the second overtime after MTSU extended their lead to six points. Jackson added three in the final session but sealed the game with his hard-earned rebound on the floor.

“Quan Jackson has been in a huge tear,” Kennedy said. “He’s got a double-double tonight, he’s a ball passer. When Josh LeBlanc went down, we challenged him to use the same instincts that make him a great defender. He has the ability to judging balls in flight and making games.He can do the same on the glass.

Mike Ertel hasn’t lacked confidence over the past two weeks and continued his impressive game with 26 of 8 points on 16 shooting from the field and 6 of 12 on 3-pointers. He was a perfect 4-for-4 in free throws and added four rebounds and two assists.

“At the start of the year he looked frustrated, then he went through a little slump,” Walker said. “I’m so glad he got away with it. Yeah, people give me a lot of credit. But for him and Quan, they’ve held this team down tremendously over the last six or seven games.

The Blazers held a slim 35-31 halftime lead, taking it up to eight points in the opening minutes of the second half, but allowed MTSU to close the gap and take their first lead. since the first half on a 9-0. race that ended with 6:19 remaining in regulation time. UAB responded with a 10-4 run to regain the lead, but MTSU’s Camryn Weston hit a layup to tie the game late in the second half.

MTSU opened the first two overtime periods on offense but the Blazers managed to extend play each time before imposing their will in the final frame. The Blue Raiders were spent in the third overtime and put UAB up to 11 points ahead before MTSU finished with a 9-2 run punctuated by a last-second 3-pointer.

Tavin Lovan finished with eight points and five rebounds, and Justin Brown added two free throws for UAB’s final points of the game. Trey Jemison had six points, three blocks and two boards and KJ Buffen added 10 rebounds, four points and two assists – both were knocked out late in the game.

“Trey seems to have been in big trouble since coming to Texas,” Kennedy said. “KJ also had problems with fouls, so we were playing small and wanted my more experienced guys.

The Blazers take on Louisiana Tech in the C-USA Tournament Championship game on Saturday, March 12, at the Star in Frisco, Texas. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CT on CBS Sports Network.

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