BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Old Dominion guard Aaron Bacote and UAB guard Chad Frazier had strikingly similar numbers heading into Thursday night’s Conference USA matchup at Bartow Arena. But Frazier was decidedly better in the Blazers’ 75-66 victory.
Frazier led UAB with 27 points, nearly 10 more than his season average of 17.7 per game. He hit four 3-pointers and added four assists and a rebound.
“I mean, he was lights out tonight,” Old Dominion coach Jeff Jones said of the 6-foot-4 Frazier. “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.”
Bacote, who averages 17.5 points per game, struggled from the outset, scoring eight points on 4-of-17 shooting from the field. Bacote, an 80 percent free throw shooter, missed both of his foul shots and all four of his 3-point attempts.
At one point in the second half, after a 17-foot jumper rolled in and out, Bacote looked to the bench with a frustrated look, shook his head and held his palms upward. It was just one of those nights for the talented sophomore.
“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 got to shut him down, just do what it takes to win.”
That’s not all that went wrong for the Monarchs (10-11, 4-2 C-USA) on a night where UAB (14-6, 3-3) led for all but 46 seconds. ODU shot just 34.8 percent from the field and had trouble keeping the Blazers from getting quality shots.
UAB coach Jerod Haase said his team’s defense had a lot to do with the Monarchs’ offensive troubles.
“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.”
The Monarchs managed to hang in despite falling behind by as many as 19 points in the second half. Old Dominion guard Ambrose Mosley, who had three second-half 3-pointers, finished with 16 points and guard Dimitri Batten had a team-best 18 points.
ODU managed to crawl back to within eight points at 62-54 after Batten’s 3-pointer with 1:06 remaining, but the Monarchs never got any closer.
“In the second half, we really showed great effort,” said Jones, whose team had 12 of their 18 offensive rebounds after halftime. “We bounced back, but we didn’t play smart enough. For us, given our physical limitations in size, we have to play hard and play smart to beat a quality team on their home floor.”
Forward CJ Washington’s foul trouble hurt the Blazers in the second half. He fouled out with 5:50 remaining after scoring 19 points and grabbing eight rebounds. Washington was 8 of 10 overall from the floor and hit 3 of 4 3-pointers. Haase had a substitute at the scorer’s table to get Washington out of the game when he committed his fifth foul.
UAB was in control for most of the first half, with Frazier and Washington combining for 25 points. The Blazers led by 11 points twice in the first half, including a 35-24 advantage at halftime.
The Monarchs had difficulty getting into an offensive flow in the first half, shooting 31.3 percent from the field. Bacote made just 2 of 10 shots from the field and missed all three of his 3-point attempts in the first 20 minutes.
Batten had team highs of seven points and five rebounds in the first half.
UAB outrebounded the Monarchs 25-18 in the first half and had seven second-chance points on seven offensive rebounds.
NOTES: UAB has an 11-1 record this season at Bartow Arena. The lone loss at home came on Jan. 18 when UTEP knocked off the Blazers 63-61. … Old Dominion and UAB were playing as fellow C-USA members for the first time. However, they are longtime rivals from the days they both were Sun Belt members. The teams played four overtime games during that time and met in the Sun Belt final in 1984. … Free pizza was provided for all UAB students in attendance. Class was cancelled from Tuesday morning through
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