UAB and North Texas will pack their bags and leave Conference USA for the greener pastures of the American Athletic Conference next season. But before they do, they'll square off Thursday night for the NIT Championship in Las Vegas.
The Blazers beat Utah Valley 88-86 in overtime Tuesday night at the Orleans Arena to punch its ticket to the final, while North Texas picked up a comeback win over Wisconsin 56-54.
Ty Brewer matched his career-high with 30 points. He also got his second double-double of the season with 12 rebounds and he recorded five steals. Brewer's last bucket was a pullup jumper with 45 seconds to go in OT that put the Blazers ahead for good.
"My mindset was just to come out and execute the game plan," Brewer said. "Just come out and do what I do best and that's go hard. Whenever they made their run, we just had a clear mind and we just locked in and do what we do. We depend on our athleticism and our defense because Coach said our offense would take care of itself and defense, you know, it wins championships."
SEE ALSO: Alves goal, Spangenberg saves help Legion grab three points on the road
SEE ALSO: Second half run helps SDSU eliminate No. 1 Alabama
The Blazers got 17 points from Jordan "Jelly" Walker and 13 from Eric Gaines, who scored seven points in the overtime period.
The Blazers know North Texas really well. This will be their fourth meeting of the season. January 21 the Mean Green beat the Blazers 63-52 at Bartow Arena.. On February 9, the Mean Green won again in Denton, Texas 82-79 in double overtime. The teams met again in the semifinals of the C-USA Tournament March 10 in Frisco, Texas. UAB won that one 76-69.
"I feel pretty good. It'll be a good game," Brewer said. "It'll be well-fought. North Texas will try to take the pace and slow it down. But as long as we play defense like we played tonight, I feel like we can bring the trophy home."
It would be a historic win. UAB has never won an NIT Championship.
Tip time is 8:30 p.m. Thursday. The game will be on ESPN2.