Robert Vaden scored 20 points and Howard Crawford added a career-high 15 to lead UAB to a 77-59 victory over East Carolina Wednesday night.
UAB coach Mike Davis went with four first-time starters as the Blazers tried to rebound from a road loss to Marshall. The new starters helped UAB jump to a 20-10 lead, and the Blazers stayed in charge most of the way.
"I've been trying to get our guys to play with more energy, and I thought we gave a pretty good effort tonight," Davis said. "East Carolina is a team that can really shoot the ball. Our energy and effort, especially on the defensive end, was good throughout the game."
UAB (13-6, 3-1 USA Conference) got 10 points from Channing Toney and nine rebounds from Jeremy Mayfield.
Darrell Jenkins scored 12 points and John Fields had 11 for East Carolina (7-10, 1-3 CUSA).
An inside basket by Fields pulled East Carolina to within 22-20 with 6:30 left in the first half. But UAB closed the half with a 14-3 run to take a 36-23 lead into intermission.
UAB built a 24-point margin early in the second half, and East Carolina could get no closer than 14 the rest of the way.
The Blazers shot 54.5 percent in the second half (12-of-22) en route to hitting 41.8 percent of their shots in the game. UAB also connected on 8-of-17 treys in the contest (47.1 percent).
The Pirates shot above 40 percent from the 3-point line for the fifth time in the last seven games, going 5-of-9 from behind the arc in the second half after making just 2-of-8 attempts in the first. ECU shot 43.8 percent from downtown. James Legan made a trio of 3s, while Jenkins knocked down a pair.
ECU will return to the hardwood on Saturday, Jan. 26, when it hosts Tulane inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum. The game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start and can be seen on WITN.
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