BOISE, Idaho (Ticker) -- Salim Stoudamire's sweet stroke carried Arizona to another Sweet 16 appearance.
Stoudamire continued a strong senior campaign with 28 points and third-seeded Arizona cruised to an 85-63 victory over No. 11 Alabama-Birmingham in the second round of the Chicago Region.
The win moves the Wildcats into the region semifinals for the fourth time in five years and ended the Blazers' bid for a second straight trip to the regionals. Arizona will face the winner of Sunday's Oklahoma State-Southern Illinois matchup in Chicago on Thursday.
The 6-1 Stoudamire, who entered the game leading the nation with a 3-point percentage of 52.5, made 5-of-11 from the arc in this one and moved into fourth place on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,932 points.
Halfway through the first half, UAB held an 18-14 lead before Stoudamire got it going. He buried a 3-pointer to kick off a 12-2 run. After the Blazers got within two points with five minutes left, Stoudamire scored the first seven points of a 12-5 run to close the half, providing the Wildcats with a 40-31 advantage.
Despite his 15 first-half points, Stoudamire felt better about his play after halftime.
"(The Blazers) played a swarming defense and I thought I was too excited and tried to force the issue in the first half," Stoudamire said. "Coach did a great job of calming me down during halftime, told me to just be patient."
Arizona stepped up the defensive pressure after the break, holding UAB to just one basket for over an eight-minute span to pull away. Fueled by the stingy defense, the Wildcats went on a 20-8 run to take a 64-47 lead midway through the half.
"I think we played great defense. I think we kinda tasted it," said Arizona center Channing Frye, who was limited by foul trouble and finished with six points. "We wanted to go to Chicago and get in the Sweet 16 so bad. I think we were totally committed to the defensive end and getting out on their shooters."
The Blazers never got closer than 13 points thereafter and Arizona coach Lute Olson was able to empty his bench after a 12-0 burst in the closing minutes.
Hassan Adams scored 16 points and matched a season high with 10 rebounds and Ivan Radenovic added 11 for the Wildcats.
Arizona, which improved to 11-2 in second-round games since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, got a strong contribution from the bench in the wake of foul trouble on Frye and Radenovic.
Kirk Walters scored eight points in 15 minutes and Jawann McClellan added seven, including a 3-pointer during the 12-0 surge that put away the game. Chris Rodgers finished with four points, four assists and three rebounds in 23 minutes off the bench.
"We were in foul trouble, and Kirk Walters gave us 14 quality minutes in the middle," Olson said. "We knew we were going to the bench. I thought McClellan gave us quality time. Chris Rodgers played very well for us. He was a very key guy defensively and in terms of rebounding."
Donnell Taylor scored 13 points for UAB but was just 1-of-7 from 3-point range, a problem that plagued the Blazers throughout. UAB never was able to mount any charge in the second half, making just 6-of-31 3-pointers overall.
"It wasn't in the cards for our basketball team today," Blazers coach Mike Anderson said. "We couldn't make shots and when you don't make shots you cannot get into your defense."
UAB used a pressing, up-tempo style to move to the Sweet 16 last year, outlasting Washington in a high-scoring first round contest before stunning top-seeded Kentucky in the second round.
The Blazers began this one 1-of-19 from 3-point range and had no answer for the Wildcats' firepower.
"They had an answer every time we made a run," Anderson said. "They are an outstanding basketball team. They won 28 games and there's a reason why."