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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Another late night on tap for Wildcats vs. Blazers

    Alabama-Birmingham head coach Mike Davis isn’t quite in the same situation as Russ Pennell, but he knows a little bit about taking over for a successful coach.

    Davis took over for Mike Anderson at UAB in 2006 after Anderson left for a head coaching position with Missouri. In four seasons, Anderson’s Blazers went to the National Invitation Tournament once and to the NCAA Tournament three times, including a Sweet Sixteen appearance in 2004.

    There’s only one way for Davis to handle the pressure.

    “”Pray every night,”” he said with a smile. “”It’s tough because you can’t replace a legend. Arizona fans have to understand that even if they go all the way to the (NCAA) championship game, you’re never going to forget what coach (Lute) Olson did.””

    The Wildcats (1-0) take on the Blazers (2-0) at 9:30 tonight in McKale Center for the second game of the Dick’s Sporting Goods NIT Preseason Tournament, and the Blazers’ third game in four days.

    “”We had a late game (Monday), and it’s tough because we played so many guys for a lot of minutes, and then we have to do it again (tonight),”” Pennell said. “”A good thing is that the other team is in the same situation.””

    Added Davis: “”It’s going to be tough, but if you’re a basketball player you’ve got to love playing basketball. So we’ll get some rest and be ready to play.””

    UAB defeated Santa Clara 64-61 in McKale Center before Arizona played Monday night.

    Forward Robert Vaden put up a game-high 23 points to go with nine rebounds, all on the defensive end. Guard Paul Delaney III scored 20 points on 6-of-8 shooting – including 2-of-3 from beyond the arc – and pulled down five boards.

    Delaney III is back this season after being granted a medical redshirt last season due to an ACL injury.

    “”He’s a big-time player that we really missed last year,”” Davis said. “”He’s a guy that can get in the passing lane, make steals and now he’s making 3s and we need that.””

    UAB got the win late in Monday’s game, as Santa Clara controlled the lead for the first 16:52 of the second half, going up by as much as nine. A shot by guard Paul Delaney III behind the newly extended 3-point line tied the game at 56 with 3:08 left in the game.

    The Blazers took the lead with a Robert Vaden jumper with just 1:56 left. Vaden said he is excited to take on the Wildcats because of the challenge and the level of prestige the UA program holds.

    “”It (will) be a good matchup for us to be on the national stage and their home court,”” Vaden said. “”It (will) be a good test for us early in the season.””

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