It’s only right that the defending Conference USA regular season champs pushed the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders to the brink Sunday afternoon in Birmingham. In a game that saw 11 lead changes and physical interior play, it was the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders who had the final say, beating UAB 66-64 on this last-second jumper from Jacorey Williams.
Williams, who hails from Birmingham and played three seasons under former UAB coach Mike Anderson at Arkansas, proved that despite how the conference will vote, he is the best player in Conference USA. Williams had 15 points in 25 minutes against the most formidable front line he has faced all season in the conference. His 11 second-half points proved to be just too much for UAB to handle.
The 6’8 senior power forward was brilliant in the midrange, converting 15-footers all afternoon with NBA-type consistency. Despite struggling with foul trouble in both halves, Williams found himself at the right place at the right time, stripping the nets with his final midrange dagger to win it for the Blue Raiders.
Middle Tennessee had lost five straight to UAB before sweeping the two games against the Blazers this season. I’d imagine this is a pretty sweet way to win the regular season title — on the home court of your conference rival. Let’s all hope these two cross paths again in a couple weeks in Birmingham at the Conference USA tournament.