70-54 Loss Makes Slu Seniors 0-4 at UAB

By Mike Eisenbath Of the Post-Dispatch | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), February 5, 1995 | Go to article overview

70-54 Loss Makes Slu Seniors 0-4 at UAB


Mike Eisenbath Of the Post-Dispatch, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


The Billikens never can get to high-falutin' when they compare themselves to college basketball's elite.

Because every year, they gulp humility from a trough in a Birmingham barn.

Yep, the water in UAB Arena poisoned St. Louis University's system again Saturday, when Alabama-Birmingham's Blazers won 70-54.

"I hate it," Scott Highmark said. "I hate playing here."

SLU couldn't shoot straight. The Billikens couldn't scare up a rebound or manage a solid grip on the ball to start the offense. All that against a young, struggling UAB team missing its top two players and its head coach.

If Alabama would like to secede again, that would suit the Bills just fine. Many of UAB's fans apparently have pulled out: only 5,177 showed up Saturday. But even with new faces on the court and fewer faces in the stands, the Blazers forced the Billikens to about-face and backward march.

"Just business as usual," SLU coach Charlie Spoonhour said. "Same old stuff."

At least seniors Highmark and Erwin Claggett never have to play a game at UAB Arena again. They went 0-4 in the building and lost by an average of 24 1/2 points.

"It's just not being ready to play," Claggett said.

The Billikens could have tied Cincinnati for second in the Great Midwest Conference. Instead, they dropped to 14-5 overall, 4-3 in the league.

UAB (11-11 and 3-4) is fighting to avoid the first losing record in Gene Bartow's 17 seasons as the program's only head coach.

Bartow was suspended for bumping an official in a recent game. He watched Saturday's contest on a TV in his office, the first time in 33 years as a college coach and six years as a high school coach that he missed a game for any reason. His son, Murry, and fellow assistant Joe Evans shared the coaching duties.

"I'm glad it's over," Murry Bartow said. "That's a great win for us. And I'm just glad Coach Bartow will be back on the bench next game."

Coaching seemed to matter little against the Billikens.

"We came out flat, just like almost every other time we've played here," Highmark said. "We get behind, then fight the whole game and expend all our energy trying to get back into the game. For whatever reason, we didn't come out ready to play a physical game."

Leonard Bush topped UAB with 17 points and nine rebounds. …

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