Jan. 30, 2014
Final Box (PDF) | Postgame Notes (PDF) | Postgame Quotes (PDF)
By: Steve Irvine, UABSports.com
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ---- The UAB men’s basketball team used the hot hand of junior guard Chad Frazier and some strong defense to outlast Old Dominion, 75-66, in a Conference USA game on Thursday night at Bartow Arena. But the Blazers didn’t do enough to totally please head coach Jerod Haase and his coaching staff.
“Our message to the team was pretty simple after the game,” Haase said. “We’re thrilled about the win and thrilled about a lot of things we did in the game. But we asked them by tomorrow and certainly by Saturday to get whatever space creatures are in their body out, to eliminate some of the bizarre turnovers and missed things.”
Then he cut to the bottom line.
“We’re thrilled to have a win against a team that was 4-1 in conference play,” Haase said.
UAB (14-6 overall, 3-3 C-USA) not only won on Thursday night but they only trailed during the first 47 seconds of the game. The Blazers led by as many as 11 points in the first half, including holding a 35-24 advantage at halftime, and stretched the lead to as many as 18 points in the second half.
A big reason for the success was the play of Frazier, who scored a game-high 27 points. The 6-foot-4 junior was 9-of-18 overall from the field, 4-of-8 on 3-pointers and 5-of-9 from the free throw line. He also had four assists, a rebound, a steal and five turnovers.
“Eliminate some of the turnovers and I thought he was a big, big-time player,” Haase said. “Some of his shots were probably ill advised, but there’s a lot greener of a light with me when you make shots and prove that you’ve done it.”
Old Dominion head coach Jeff Jones certainly didn’t like the view from the opposing bench.
“I mean he was lights out tonight,” said Jones, whose team fell to 10-11 overall. “He was obviously very good and really controlled the game for the most part. He’s good all the time, but he was clearly feeling it tonight.”
Frazier also played a critical role on the defensive end while matching up against Old Dominion’s leading scorer Aaron Bacote, who entered averaging 17.5 points per game. Bacote missed 4-of-17 shots from the field, most of them contested by Frazier and other UAB defenders, and failed on all four 3-point attempts. He finished with eight points and three turnovers.
“They told me he was a pretty good player and I was matched up on him most of the game,” Frazier said. “I look at it as he’s a big-time player and I have to shut him down, just do what it takes to win.”
For the most part, UAB made it difficult on all the Old Dominion shooters. The Monarchs shot just 34.8 percent from the field and made 6-of-20 3-point attempts.
“I thought we pestered them, not just (Bacote), but all their perimeter players,” Haase said. “We gave them different looks and played with energy on the defensive end.”
UAB also got some offensive support from junior forward C.J. Washington, who scored inside and outside. Washington made 8-of-10 shots from the field, including 3-of-4 3-point attempts, to finish with 19 points. He also had eight rebounds, two blocked shots and an assist before fouling out with 5:50 left in the game.
Old Dominion trimmed the lead under double digits – at 62-54 – with 1:06 left in the game. But Robert Williams followed with a dunk and the Blazers were able to pull away. That might have happened sooner if UAB took better care of the basketball. The Blazers committed 19 turnovers.
“It was just mistakes, more on the offensive end, when you look and say ‘What on Earth did you do that for?’” Haase said. “Most of those were turnovers and casual plays. Maybe one thing into the next step of our maturation process is playing with the lead, still attack but also be under control.”
The Blazers return home to face East Carolina at 2 p.m. CT on Saturday.