UNC-Wilmington Nips ODU in CAA Opener, 71-67
Dec. 21, 2001
Norfolk, VA-Seahawk guard Brett Blizzard scored 21 points to lead UNC-Wilmington to a 71-67 victory over Old Dominion in the CAA opener for both teams. UNCW, the pre-season CAA favorite, improves to 5-5 on the year, 1-0 CAA. ODU falls to 6-4, 0-1 CAA.
The game was a typically close affair between the two schools, with UNCW playing their trademark ball-control offense. The Seahawks jumped out to a early seven point lead in the first half, thanks in part to a technical foul on the ODU bench. The Monarchs rebounded in the final four minutes, reeling off a 12-6 thanks to baskets by Ricardo Marsh (Mebane, NC) and Pierre Greene (Chicago, IL). Both teams went into the locker room tied at 27.
UNCW inched out ahead again in the opening moments of the second half, and were able to maintain a slight lead even with a technical foul called on the Seahawk bench. Blizzard and forward Craig Callahan found their shot on the outside, and UNCW's stingy interior defense slowed down the pace of the game considerably.
Old Dominion took their last lead of the game with just under eight minutes to go, taking a 54-53 lead on a Kiah Thomas (Norfolk, VA) trey and a John Waller (Richmond, VA) layup at the 7:48 mark. Back to back three-pointers by Blizzard and Callahan pushed the Seahawks in front again, and UNCW was able to stymie several runs by Old Dominion in the closing moments. Down 68-64 with 2:19 left, Old Dominion nearly succeeded in evening the game once more with a long three-point bomb from Waller to cut the lead to one point with 36 seconds to go. UNCW's Brett Blizzard iced the game by sinking three of four free throws in the final seconds, eliminating any hopes of an ODU comeback.
Old Dominion outrebounded UNCW 40-27 and held a .438 to .426 edge in shooting. The Seahawks' clutch three-point shooting saved them in the second half, however, as they sank 7 of 15 from the arc.
Blizzard led UNCW with 21 points and 5 assists. Teammate Craig Callahan followed with 17 points and 4 rebounds.
Old Dominion was paced by Ricardo Marsh, who scored a game-high 22 points and four rebounds. Sophomores Clay McGowen (Westerville, OH) and John Waller, who made their first starts of the season, enjoyed solid games as well. McGowen scored 9 points and hauled in a career-high 12 rebounds while Waller scored 8 with 10 boards.
The Monarchs will be back in action on December 30th, when they travel to UNLV.