UCLA's Norman Powell (4) leaps past UAB's Robert Brown (4) and tries for a dunk during the Battle 4 Atlantis NCAA college basketball tournament in Paradise Island, Bahamas, Friday Nov. 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Tim Aylen)
Tim Aylen
November 29, 2014

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) UCLA coach Steve Alford took his team on a long walk around the Atlantis resort Friday, letting his players see the sights of the Bahamas and think about something besides basketball.

The Bruins came away refreshed, and it showed.

Isaac Hamilton scored 21 points and UCLA salvaged one win out of its trip to the Bahamas by topping Alabama-Birmingham 88-76 in the seventh-place game at the Battle 4 Atlantis on Friday night.

''That's the Isaac Hamilton we're used to seeing,'' Alford said.

Norman Powell scored 17 points for the Bruins (5-2), while Bryce Alford went 11 for 12 from the foul line on his way to a 14-point night. Kevon Looney had 13 and Thomas Welsh 12.

''I couldn't be more pleased,'' Alford said. ''You're playing at 10:30 at night in the consolation game. That's not easy.''

Nick Norton and C.J. Washington each scored 17 points for UAB (2-5), which was playing its third ranked team in three days and dropped all three contests.

Chris Cokley and Lewis Sullivan scored 13 points apiece for the Blazers.

Powell's 3-pointer with 8:12 left put UCLA up 77-55, but UAB tried to make things interesting in the final minutes. The Blazers outscored the Bruins 17-5 over 4 1/2-minute stretch, getting within 10 after back-to-back scores by Sullivan.

UCLA didn't let the margin get any smaller, and snapped a two-game slide.

''I think there's some things we can look at and be positive with,'' UAB coach Jerod Haase said. ''But my focus, unfortunately, is going to be on the fact that we got down 22 and the things that got us to that point. But this whole experience is going to be something we learn from. It's just going to take hard work and time to get there.''

Norton left in the second half after getting bloodied by a cut over his left eye, prompting a brief delay with 18:23 remaining. Once the cut was bandaged and the streaks of blood were wiped from his close-cropped blond hair, he returned to help spark UAB's comeback try.

In the end, UCLA held on.

''I was just really proud of the guys,'' Alford said.

TIP-INS

UCLA: The Bruins are 3-0 against UAB. ... Alford now has wins against 149 different Division I schools, and is four wins shy of 500 for his coaching career. ... Friday's game was the seventh for UCLA in a 15-day span, and the Bruins have gotten through that grind usually primarily an eight-man rotation.

UAB: The Blazers still have some big-name non-conference tests remaining, including a home game against LSU on Dec. 18 and a trip to North Carolina on Dec. 27. UAB beat the Tar Heels last season. ... UAB averaged 45 points in its first two games in the Bahamas. The Blazers got to the 45-point mark Friday with 14:53 remaining.

RANKED STRUGGLES

The Battle 4 Atlantis had four ranked teams in the field, with No. 2 Wisconsin, No. 5 North Carolina and No. 18 Florida along with the Bruins. Combined, those four clubs went 7-5, with the Badgers (3-0) winning the title, the Tar Heels (2-1) finishing fifth, the Gators (1-2) sixth and the Bruins (1-2) seventh. Unranked teams Oklahoma, Butler and Georgetown finished second, third and fourth, respectively.

BAHAMA BLANKS

There were only two instances (out of a possible 24) in the tournament where a team shot better than 50 percent, one by Wisconsin and the other by Georgetown. Inside the ballroom-turned-arena - a cozy venue that Florida coach Billy Donovan thought would favor shooters - the eight teams in the field combined to shoot just under 40 percent.

UP NEXT

UCLA: Home against Cal State-Fullerton on Wednesday night.

UAB: Home against Morehead State on Thursday night.

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