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Updated: Sunday, March 2, 2003 1:48 AM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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(11) Marquette 98, UAB 87
UAB BLAZERS
UAB Blazers
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MARQUETTE GOLDEN EAGLES
Marquette Golden Eagles
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MILWAUKEE (Ticker) -- Dwyane Wade scored 26 points and Robert Jackson added 22 and 10 rebounds as No. 11 Marquette clinched at least a share of the Conference USA American Division title with a 98-87 victory over Alabama-Birmingham.

Marquette (22-4, 13-2 C-USA American) claimed part of the conference crown for the first time in the league's eight-year history, but could share the title with Memphis.

The Tigers defeated Cincinnati on Saturday and have games remaining against Houston and UAB remaining. The Golden Eagles host Cincinnati in their conference finale on March 8.

"I would hope the fact that it is Senior Day and that we are playing a rival like Cincinnati and we are playing a team as good as Cincinnati would be motivation enough," Marquette coach Tom Crean said.

Wade also had seven assists, four blocks and four steals and Travis Diener contributed 14 points and 10 assists for the Golden Eagles, who have won four straight games and 14 of the last 15.

However, they were not at their best after rallying from a 19-point deficit to post an emotional win at Louisville on Thursday.

"I didn't think scoring would be an issue tonight. We didn't guard like we were supposed to, but we had an emotional week," Crean said. "It is difficult to lock in after an emotional win like that, especially against a very good team."

Morris Finley poured in 31 points for UAB, but the Blazers (16-9, 8-6 National) had their three-game winning streak stopped.

"Dwyane Wade is a great player and then they have guys that compliment them like Robert Jackson, a player who I am very familiar with, coming from the SEC," UAB coach Mike Anderson said. "We had not answer for Wade or Jackson tonight, but our guys gave a great effort tonight."

Marquette used a 20-7 run midway through the second half to take a 76-55 lead with 11:19 remaining. Wade, who averages 21.5 points per game, played just one minute during the spurt and did not score.

UAB tried to rally with a 15-4 run to climb within 88-79 with 3:23 remaining.

The Golden Eagles jumped out to a 15-8 lead within the first five minutes as Wade had four points, three assists and three blocks.

Jeffrey Collins hit a three-point with 12:49 to give the Blazers their only lead, 20-19. But Wade's driving layup put Marquette up for good, 29-27, with 6:55 remaining in the first half.

The Golden Eagles closed the half with an 11-4 run and owned a 50-42 advantage at the intermission.

Scott Merritt chipped in 13 points and Steve Novak added 11 for Marquette, which shot 58 percent (29-of-50) from the field and converted 33-of-37 free throws.

Demario Eddins and Eric Bush each scored 11 points and Gabe Kennedy and Sidney Ball had 10 apiece for the Blazers, who shot 49 percent (31-of-63) and were outrebounded, 34-22.


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