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Saturday, May 18, 2024


Nov. 17, 2001 – The University of Alabama-Birmingham Blazers defeated the Eastern Michigan University Eagles 79-66 Saturday evening to kick off the Paradise Jam 2001 basketball tournament at the Sports and Fitness Center on the University of the Virgin Islands St. Thomas campus.
The men's basketball game got off to a sloppy start with both teams committing turnovers instead of scoring baskets. The first half was one of spurts. A little over five minutes into the game, the Blazers led 13-4. Then the Eagles went on an 8-0 run to come within one point of Alabama, 13-12. The game was kept close until the Blazers answered with an 11-0 streak to take an commanding 16-point lead, 37-21. Eastern Michigan closed out the half with a 7-0 run of its own to cut the Blazers' lead to 40-30.
The second half saw the Eagles continuing their stepped-up play to start the half. They came within six points of the Blazers, 60-56, before experience took over. Alabama ended the game with a stretch outpointing EMU 17-10.
Eagles men's head coach Jim Boone gave credit to the Blazers, noting, "They took control of the game down the stretch … That’s the sign of an experienced, well-coached team."
Blazers men's head coach Murry Bartow liked what his team did in the game but saw room for improvement. "The Eagles exploited many of our weaknesses," he admitted. "We need to work on them."
The Blazers were lead offensively by Myron Ransom and P.J. Arnold, who each scored 22 points. Both Ransom and Arnold were out last season due to injury. Eagles top scorer Ricky Cottrill had a double-double with 25 points and 13 rebounds. His teammate, Ryan Prillman, did, too, with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Both teams are enjoying their first trip to the Virgin Islands. The Blazers especially liked the crowd participation, Bartow said: "The crowds came out and were into the game."
The territory, known as America’s Paradise, is hosting this second annual men's and women's college basketball tournament. The event is organized by Basketball Travelers out of Seattle.
Later Friday night, Clemson University played Morris Brown.

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