After entering this week ranked for the first time in more than three years, UAB’s stay in the Top 25 will most likely be short-lived. The Blazers, though, are probably more concerned with playing solid basketball on the road.
The 24th-ranked Blazers look to bounce back from their first loss in 11 games Saturday afternoon when they visit an Arkansas team that has won five straight at Bud Walton Arena.
UAB (11-2) posted its 10th win in a row Dec. 22, 67-57 over then-No. 20 Butler, and moved into the rankings Monday for the first time since the end of the 2005-06 season.
The Blazers were looking for their first signature road victory Wednesday night against Virginia, but they missed 10 of 15 free throws and were outscored 22-13 over the final 10 minutes of a 72-63 loss.
“They made it tough on us,” coach Mike Davis said. “They contested some shots and took away our driving lanes. … We fought hard in the second half but just came up short.”
Junior guard Elijah Millsap had a career-high 27 points and added 11 rebounds for UAB, which has also lost to Kent State and defeated Jacksonville State and South Alabama away from home.
A win at Arkansas would be impressive, as the Razorbacks have limited opponents to 57.8 points per game and won by an average of 17.4 during their five-game home winning streak.
UAB will be visiting Arkansas for the second time. The Blazers lost 104-72 there in the last meeting between these teams Jan. 30, 1991, after falling 109-95 at home in the first matchup the previous season.
Arkansas (7-6) played outside of Bud Walton Arena for the first time since Dec. 2 on Wednesday night, losing 70-47 to Baylor at Verizon Arena in Little Rock to have its five-game win streak snapped.
The Razorbacks shot a season-low 30.5 percent from the field, going 2 for 14 from 3-point range, and went 9 for 17 from the free-throw line. They trailed 34-31 at halftime before being outscored 36-16 in the final 20 minutes.
“I thought that we played well in the first half,” coach John Pelphrey told Arkansas’ official Web site. “… Offensively we left some things out there. In the second half we couldn’t hit our shots and no matter how good your defense is, you can’t win by scoring like we did.”
The Razorbacks average 75.9 points - 82.7 at home - but have scored 47 in their last two losses. They hadn’t scored less than 50 since their last game of the 2004-05 season.
Arkansas hasn’t played well on the defensive end, allowing an SEC-worst 71.3 points per game. UAB is averaging 73.1 over its last 10.