December 1, 2013

Blazers Upset No. 16 North Carolina, 63-59

BARTOW ARENA - The student beat the teacher. UAB coach Jerod Haase got a win over his mentor Roy Williams at Bartow Arena Sunday night. Chad Frazier - a North Carolina native - scored 25 points to lead UAB to a 63-59 upset win over the 16th-ranked North Carolina Tarheels. The Tarheels led only once - 4-2 early in the first period - as UAB's defense and rebounding kept the North Carolina team off balance for most of the night.

UAB grabbed 52 rebounds for the game, while North Carolina managed to get only 37. "They're one of the best offensive rebounding team in the country," Williams said of the Blazers.

That rebounding edge balanced out a poor shooting night for the Blazers, who managed to hit only 30.6 percent (19-of-62) of their shots from the field. The Tarheels hit 42.9 percent of their shots (27-of-63).

UAB arguably won the game at the free-throw line. The Blazers hit 12-of-16 from the charity stripe, while North Carolina only mustered 4-of-11.

UAB held a 37-25 halftime lead, thanks to 18 first-half points by Chad Frazier. The Blazer lead reached 15 points with 2:25 remaining in the first period, but North Carolina scored 7 straight points to cut the margin to eight. UAB scored the last four points in the half for the twelve-point margin.

"I told our guys at the half I had been in that other locker room," Haase said, "and they would come out scratching and clawing and they did."

The Tarheels whittled away at the Blazer lead for much of the second period, closing the margin to just one point with 41 seconds remaining. But they never got any closer. The game was sealed when Jordan Swing - scoreless in the second half to that point - hit a pair of free throws with five seconds left.

Frazier's 25 points led all scorers for the game. Rod Rucker added 11 to join Frazier in double figures. Fahro Alihodzic grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds for the Blazers.

North Carolina was led by J. P. Tokoto with 16 points. Marcus Paige, who entered the game averaging better than 22 points per game, also reached double figures with 13 points, but his three-point shots in the final minute of the game were off the mark.

Coach Williams was gracious after the game. "I sure would like to congratulate Jerod and his team," Williams said. "He is one of the nicest and most competitive guys I know. He had his team better prepared than I had mine.

"He's doing great things here," Williams added. "He's got to do more."

"This is my definition of bittersweet," Haase said. "I hated having to go shake his hand."

Frazier, a native of North Carolina, understood the importance of the win. "Carolina, Duke, those were the big teams," he said. "I just always wanted to play against them and beat them. They're the best."

Senior Rob Williams also played will, finishing with two points, five rebounds and a blocked shot. "When you're a kid, this is the game you want to play." he said.

UAB improved its record to 6-2 with the win. North Carolina dropped to 4-2. The Blazers travel to Boston, Mass. for their next game to challenge Northeastern on Saturday December 7.

The Blazers return to Bartow Arena a week later to play host to Georgia Southern.

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