BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP)KJ Buffen scored a career-high 25 points, Jordan ”Jelly” Walker hit five 3-pointers and had 22 points and UAB beat South Carolina 84-70 on Wednesday night.
Buffen was 10-of-15 shooting with a game-high eight rebounds. The 5-foot-11 Walker, the nation’s leading scorer coming in at 24.9 points per game, made his five 3s on 12 attempts, though was only 6 of 16 overall, and added seven assists.
Eric Gaines also had a career night with 19 points for the nation’s sixth-best scoring offense (87.9). UAB (8-2) and South Carolina (5-5) were close in shooting percentage but the Blazers made 16 of 17 free throws to 8 of 13 for the Gamecocks.
South Carolina freshman Gregory ”GG” Jackson II scored 20 points with Chico Carter Jr. – who made all four of his 3-point tries – Hayden Brown and Meechie Johnson scoring 13 points apiece. Johnson added seven assists.
Gaines and Walker hit consecutive 3-pointers in a 10-0 run early in the second half to expand UAB’s lead to 19 and they stayed ahead by double figures, leading by as many as 23 with under four minutes left after a 9-0 run.
Walker had 17 points and Buffen 15 in the first half when the Blazers took a 42-28 lead.
Walker hit a trio 3-pointers and added a free throw in the first minute and a half of the game in scoring the game’s first 10 points. The Gamecocks rallied to tie 3 1/2 minutes later but UAB pulled away for good. Buffen gave the Blazers their first double-digit lead with a bucket and Walker then scored UAB’s final seven points of the half, including his fourth 3, for a 42-28 lead.
UAB bounced back from a loss to West Virginia last Saturday that snapped a six-game win streak.
More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25