BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — There are going to be lows mixed with highs in Lamont Paris's first season as University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's basketball coach.
Monday evening against Alabama-Birmingham, there were a lot more lows.
The Mocs fell behind by double digits in the first five minutes of the game and never really threatened, ultimately falling 89-47 to the Blazers at Bartow Arena.
After starting the season with two road losses as a stateside part of the Cayman Islands Classic, the Mocs will play at home Thursday at 7 p.m. to face NCCAA member Hiwassee at McKenzie Arena.
The Mocs had five turnovers in their first 13 scoreless possessions of the game. By the time James Lewis hit a little hook shot in the lane with 12:55 to play in the first half, the Mocs trailed 13-2.
Makale Foreman hit a pair of 3-pointers to cut the early lead to 15-8, but the Blazers responded with a 17-4 spurt to stretch the their margin to 20, a number they never dipped below the rest of the way.
"They were better than us physically," Paris said. "When that happens, you have to counteract it by playing intelligently, sticking to rules and competing. We didn't play our rules how we wanted to. The least of my worries was that they made plays that were made because they were physically better than us at some points.
"I'm not too concerned with that. I can't make a guy be stronger, faster or taller tonight, but you can play the way that you've practiced playing and compete. Combine those two together and you have a chance, and we didn't do those."
The Mocs were outrebounded 51-22 and shot only 35 percent from the field. That and 17 turnovers helped the Blazers get out in transition, but when they had to play in the halfcourt, UAB was equally effective, leaning on the trio of post Chris Cokley and guards Nate Darling and Zack Bryant, who combined to score 48 points.
Darling finished with a game-high 19 points, while Bryant had 17 and Cokley had 12 plus 10 rebounds.
David Jean-Baptiste had 12 points to lead the Mocs (0-2). Foreman's 11 points all came in the first half, and he finished 3-for-4 from 3-point distance, while Lewis had nine points and three rebounds.