BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Eric Gaines scored 21 points and UAB ended No. 19 Florida Atlantic's nation-best 20-game winning streak with an 86-77 victory on Thursday night.
The Owls (21-2, 10-1 Conference USA) hadn't lost since falling 80-67 to Mississippi on Nov. 11 and made their debut in the AP Top 25 2 1/2 weeks ago.
Jordan "Jelly" Walker had 13 points and six assists for UAB (16-7, 7-5) in his return from a foot injury that had sidelined him since Jan. 11.
The Blazers closed the first half on a 14-2 run capped by back-to-back 3-pointers from Walker and Ty Brewer for a 43-30 lead.
Tavin Lovan added 10 points for UAB.
Nick Boyd led Florida Atlantic with 18 points. Johnell Davis added 17 on 5-of-19 shooting. Vladislav Golden had 13 points and seven rebounds, scoring 10 in the first half.
FAU outscored the Blazers 10-2 in the first 3:28 of the second half to get within three points. UAB regained control and twice built 16-point leads. The last one came with 4:55 left following five consecutive points by Walker.
Florida Atlantic made one last push after falling behind 78-62, starting with an 8-0 run. Davis hit a pair of 3s and made two free throws — and Boyd also made a 3 — to cut it to 80-73 with 1:49 left.
The Blazers didn't let the Owls get any closer.