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Colonial Quarterfinals

March 13, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

Colonial Quarterfinals Recap

by Beth Iskoe

No. 1 UNC Wilmington v. No. 9 Hofstra

Unlike last year when Hofstra stunned No. 2 George Mason in the quarterfinals, the Pride were unable to upset top seeded and defending champion UNC Wilmington Saturday afternoon. However, Hofstra was able to get off to a fast start and actually led 19-12 with eleven and a half minutes remaining in the first half. But, the Seahawks were able to fight back and went into halftime with a 38-33 lead. The Pride came out strong to start the second half and took a 42-40 advantage with sixteen minutes left in the contest. Unfortunately for Hofstra, its upset hopes ended there as UNC Wilmington went on a 14-0 run and outscored the Pride 36-14 to close the game and secure a 76-56 victory.

As usual, senior guard Brett Blizzard was the Seahawks’ main catalyst, as he scored a game-high 28 points. Blizzard was the CAA Player of the Year for the second consecutive season and is the first player in conference history to be selected to the All-CAA First Team all four years. Also playing a big role in the UNC Wilmington win was senior forward Craig Callahan, who added nineteen points and eight rebounds. Keeping the Pride close for the first half of the game was sophomore guard Woody Souffrant. Souffrant scored seventeen of his 22 points in the first half. Sophomore forward Kenny Adeleke also contributed by recording his fifteenth double-double of the season with fourteen points and twelve rebounds.

The Seahawks win means they will face No. 5 seed Delaware today at 3 p.m. in a rematch of last season’s quarterfinal match-up. Last year, UNC Wilmington defeated the Hens 69-54.

No. 4 George Mason v. No. 5 Delaware

Even though Delaware was swept by George Mason during the regular season, the Hens were able to pull off a 61-49 victory Saturday afternoon. Delaware took control of the game during the last ten minutes of the first half as it went on a 20-9 run and entered the halftime locker room with a 29-18 advantage. With thirteen and a half minutes remaining in the contest, the Patriots managed to cut their deficit to seven on junior forward Richard Tynes’ layup. But, the Hens quieted all thoughts of a George Mason comeback by going on a 16-5 run over the next seven and a half minutes to secure the victory.

The Patriots were hurt by a combination of poor shooting and great Delaware defense, as they connected on only 28 percent of their shots. The Hens on the other hand, shot 50 percent from the field. Junior guard Mike Ames scored a game-high 21 points and senior forward Maurice Sessoms added ten points to lead Delaware. In the losing effort, junior guard Raoul Heinen scored 16 points and senior forward Jon Larranaga scored ten points for George Mason.

The Hens will face UNC Wilmington tomorrow at 3 p.m. in the semifinals. Delaware was swept in the regular season by the Seahawks, losing by scores of 68-62 and 71-53 respectively. The winner of that game will face the victor of No. 2 Virginia Commonwealth and No. 3 Drexel in the Championship game Monday night.

No. 2 Virginia Commonwealth v. No. 7 James Madison
Before the Dukes realized what hit them Saturday night, the game was out of reach. The Rams jumped out to a 17-5 lead twelve minutes into the contest and finished the half with a 40-19 advantage. The closest James Madison was able to get the rest of the way was when it trailed 54-40 with eleven and a half minutes remaining in regulation. But, Virginia Commonwealth responded by scoring eight unanswered points and coasted to a 73-53 victory.

The Dukes were plagued by poor shooting both from the field (34 percent) and from the free-throw line (59.1 percent). The Rams were able to hold James Madison’s leading scorer senior guard David Fanning to just three points on five field goal attempts. Virginia Commonwealth had a very balanced scoring attack, as it had four players score in double figures. Senior forward Willie Taylor and sophomore forward Michael Doles both scored fifteen points, senior guard Emanuel Mathis added twelve points and junior guard Domonic Jones contributed eleven points.

A victory over No. 3 Drexel tonight in the 5:30 game would send the Rams to the conference championship for the second consecutive season. Last season, Virginia Commonwealth fell 66-51 to UNC Wilmington.

No. 3 Drexel v. No. 6 Old Dominion
In what was the only close contest of the quarterfinal round, Drexel was able to hang on to defeat Old Dominion 61-52 Saturday night. The Dragons led for the majority of the contest. They went on a 23-4 run to end the half and took what would normally be considered a comfortable 34-20 lead. But, the Monarchs would not quit and outscored Drexel 13-1 to close their deficit to 40-38 with just over nine minutes remaining. The game remained close for the next eight minutes and Drexel led only 55-52 with less than a minute remaining. Fortunately for the Dragons, sophomore guard Phil Goss hit a huge three-pointer with 29 seconds remaining to seal the Drexel win.

The Dragons won despite the fact the senior center Robert Battle played only 24 minutes due to foul trouble. However, he did manage to score a team-high eighteen points. Freshman guard Kennell Sanchez had a double-double with eleven points and fourteen rebounds. Old Dominion was led by senior forward Rasheed Wright who scored sixteen points and grabbed seven boards, as well as senior forward Ricardo March who scored ten points and pulled down six rebounds.

Drexel will next face No. 2 Virginia Commonwealth in a semifinal match-up today at 5:30 p.m. They split the season series as the Dragons won the first game 74-73, but lost the second game 72-59. The winner of that game will advance to take on the winner of No. 1 UNC Wilmington and No. 5 Delaware Monday night in the nationally televised championship game on ESPN2.


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