COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) -- Demario Eddins shined on offense but also managed to display some defense for Alabama-Birmingham.
Eddins scored a career-high 26 points and make a pair of key defensive plays down the stretch as the ninth-seeded Blazers outlasted No. 8 Washington, 102-100, in the first round of the St. Louis Region.
Alabama-Birmingham (21-9) survived a shootout to move into a second-round matchup with top-seeded Kentucky. Eddins shined amid the fast pace and also drew a charge and blocked a shot in the final minute.
"It's amazing when you give everything you've got, you've played as hard as you've got," UAB coach Mike Anderson said. "He's taking a charge, blocking shots and I thought he was more effective in the second half on the defensive side of the ball."
The Blazers never trailed after Eddins' dunk capped an 18-3 spurt for a 74-63 lead with 11 1/2 minutes to go. Washington (19-12) made things interesting down the stretch by fouling to extend the final minute.
Mo Finley made 1-of-2 from the line for a 102-100 lead with one second to go, missing the second attempt. All the Huskies mustered was a desperation shot by Brandon Roy that hit the backboard as time expired.
"It was a fast-paced game down the stretch," Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said. "We were trying to manage our possessions and get as many as we could to try and prolong the game as long as we could."
The game featured plenty of action and free throws on both ends as well as a matchup of two of the best players in college basketball under 6 feet. Finley, generously listed at 5-11, finished with 20 points while Nate Robinson, listed at 5-9, netted 27 to lead the Huskies.
Anderson is a former Arkansas assistant in his second season at UAB. He borrowed many of Nolan Richardson's methods of pressing and trapping, and the former Razorbacks coach was in the stands to watch his protege.
"I had a feeling it was going to be an entertaining game, but my goodness, 100 points," Anderson said. "We played a team that scored 100 points and we win the game."
While Finley ran the show and Eddins piled up the points, Carldell Johnson was another key for UAB. The guard, dubbed "Squeaky" by his teammates, nailed a long 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down to open a 93-89 cushion with 71 seconds remaining.
"Tonight we came out with the hope of running with these guys and keeping up with their style of play," Johnson said. "Once we realized we could contend, our confidence and energy levels rose."
The Huskies were one of the hottest teams in the country, winning 14 of 17 games to earn an NCAA Tournament berth and handing Stanford its only loss. They fell, despite outshooting the Blazers, 55 percent to 46 percent.