for this game

UAB ousts Coastal Carolina 65-49

Mar 17, 2010 - 3:31 AM BIRMINGHAM, Ala.(AP) -- Elijah Millsap scored 15 points and UAB never trailed in defeating Coastal Carolina 65-49 Tuesday in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament.

UAB (24-8) held Coastal Carolina (28-7) scoreless for the first 5:10 of the game in building an 8-0 lead. The Blazers led 17-6 midway through the first half and maintained at least an eight-point advantage the rest of the way.

"UAB took us out early," Coastal Carolina coach Cliff Ellis said. "The physical part of the game bothered us. They really took it to us."

The Blazers outrebounded Coastal Carolina 41-25 and pressured the Chanticleers into 18 turnovers.

"After watching film of them, the teams they beat weren't real big and physical," UAB coach Mike Davis said. "That's what we tried to do. We wanted to take them out of their rhythm with ball screens. The game was probably over in the first half."

A 19-5 run gave UAB a 40-18 halftime lead. The Blazers scored only 44 points in losing to Southern Mississippi last week in the Conference USA tournament.

Joseph Harris, the Chanticleers' leading scorer this season with an average of 14.4 points, was held scoreless in the first half and finished with six points. Overall, Coastal Carolina went 7 of 22 from the floor in the first half.

"(UAB) came out and got the first punch, and we didn't respond," Harris said.

The Blazers dominated the interior, outscoring Coastal Carolina 30-16 in the paint and grabbing 16 offensive rebounds.

"We played with a lot of energy and focus," said Millsap, who had his 16th double-double of the season.

The victory ended a three-game losing streak for the Blazers, who had been considered a potential NCAA tournament team before going 5-6 down the stretch.

"We haven't played this well in a while," Davis said. "We played real relaxed. This was like the team that played earlier this year."

Chad Gray and Danny Nieman each had 12 points for the Chanticleers, who were making their first postseason appearance in 17 years.

"It's a stage that this team and program has not been on, and in the first half we didn't handle it well," Ellis said. "UAB outrebounded us big time. They were a more physical team than us. You can't have that rebounding margin and that many turnovers and expect to win."

UAB advances to play North Carolina State in the second round in Birmingham.