Jan. 16, 2014
By: Steve Irvine, UABSports.com
UAB freshman Denzell Watts’ expanded role continued on Thursday night in the Blazers’ 78-65 Conference USA victory over UTSA at Bartow Arena.
Watts, a 6-foot-2, 207-pound point guard from Flint, Mich., played 20 minutes in Thursday’s victory. It marked the third consecutive game that he played at least 20 minutes. His contribution to the win over the Roadrunners included six points, three assists, no turnovers and a steal. Perhaps best of all, though, was his ability to take some ball handling pressure away from Chad Frazier.
“It’s hard to have the ball in your hands for basically 40 minutes, be active defensively and a bunch of points,” UAB head coach Jerod Haase said of Frazier. “He’s had a lot on his shoulders and he’s done a great job with it. If we can alleviate some of his primary ball handling responsibilities, I think that would be great.”
Frazier did not turn the ball over in 30 minutes of action on Thursday.
*UAB center Fahro Alihodzic turned in a solid performance for the Blazers on Thursday. He was 7-of-13 from the field, 3-of-3 from the free throw line and also contributed four rebounds, four blocked shots and one assist while committing just one turnover.
“I thought he did a nice job,” Haase said. “I would like the rebounding number up a little bit though. I thought he was impatient in the post a couple of times. In the second half, he had a much better feel. He only took one shot that I didn’t like.”
*Freshman Tosin Mehinti fouled out after playing just eight minutes on Thursday. But Haase wasn’t necessarily discouraged by Mehinti’s quick exit, even though he’s like to have the 6-foot-9 freshman available to come off the bench.
“With Tosin, as long as his fouls are very aggressive, we can live with that,” Haase said. “I don’t want him thinking about putting himself in position not to foul.”
*UAB has a quick turnaround with UTEP coming to Bartow Arena on Saturday night at 7. The visiting Miners (12-6 overall, 2-1 C-USA) beat Middle Tennessee, 63-54, on Thursday night.