2003 NIT 2003 NIT

Updated: Tuesday, March 25, 2003 10:52 PM EST
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UAB 80, Siena 71
UAB Blazers
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Siena Saints
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ALBANY, New York (Ticker) -- Alabama-Birmingham is moving closer to New York City.

Freshman DeMario Eddins scored 19 points to lead UAB to an 80-71 victory over Siena and into the quarterfinals of the National Invitation Tournament.

The Blazers (21-12) now head from upstate New York to Jamaica, where they will meet St. John's in the quarterfinals on Thursday night.

The winner of that game earns a berth in the NIT semifinals at Madison Square Garden.

UAB closed the game with a 16-7 run, which featured 3-pointers by Morris Finley and Sidney Ball, who finished with 14, in the final six minutes.

Eric Bush had 15 points and Gabe Kennedy collected 14 points and 12 rebounds for UAB.

Freshman Michael Haddix led Siena (21-11) with 16 points.

But the Blazers held Prosper Karangwa, Siena's leading scorer at 16.8 points per game, to just nine on 2-of-12 shooting. His backcourt mate, Tommy Mitchell, hit just 5-of-16 shots for 12 points.

Siena shot just 41 percent (29-of-71) for the game, including 6-of-21 from 3-point range.

UAB held a 53-44 lead with 15:11 left, but the Saints scored 11 of the next 12 points to move ahead. Bush responded with two baskets, giving the Blazers a 58-55 advantage.

But the game was tied four times before UAB closed with its 16-7 run.

Eddins converted 8-of-11 shots and grabbed eight rebounds. Ball was 5-of-6 from the field and Finley dished out eight assists.

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