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Colonial Semifinals

March 13, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments



Colonial Semifinals Recap

by Beth Iskoe

No. 1 UNC Wilmington v. No. 5 Delaware

For the fourth consecutive year, the Seahawks earned a spot in the CAA Championship game, this time by virtue of a 63-50 win over Delaware Sunday afternoon. UNC Wilmington took control of the game early on by jumping out to a 21-9 lead, helped by the Hens’ inability to score a field goal during the first four minutes. But, Delaware was able to fight back and closed to within 25-22 with just under six minutes remaining in the half. However, the Seahawks regained the momentum as they went on an 11-1 run to enter halftime with a 36-23 advantage. The Hens also came out cold in the second half, as they hit on only nine of twelve field goals. Although Delaware was able to cut its deficit to nine points, UNC Wilmington was able to push its lead up to 57-37 and the Hens never seriously challenged the remainder of the game.

Delaware was plagued by poor shooting the entire contest, as it converted on only 16-of-53 shots (30.2 percent). No Hens player made more than three field goals. Sophomore point guard Mike Slattery was the only Delaware player to score in double figures. He had ten points. The Seahawks were once again led by the senior duo of guard Brett Blizzard and forward Craig Callahan. Blizzard scored eighteen points, while Callahan scored a game-high 22 points, grabbed ten rebounds and added five steals.

UNC Wilmington will face No. 3 Drexel in the CAA Championship game tonight at 7 p.m. The winner of that game will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Last year, the Seahawks were able to upset Southern California in the first round before falling to eventual runner-up Indiana in the second round.

No. 2 Virginia Commonwealth v. No. 3 Drexel

With his team trailing by one point, Drexel senior center Robert Battle hit a bankshot with 4.3 seconds remaining in the contest to put the Dragons up for good en route to their 62-60 victory. Battle’s shot followed what Virginia Commonwealth hoped would be the game-winning shot when senior forward Willie Taylor made a lay-up and foul shot with 23 seconds remaining. The Rams had made a valiant effort to claw their way back after trailing 57-47 with two minutes remaining in regulation. After Battle’s final shot went in, Virginia Commonwealth tried a half court pass, but the pass was broken up and Drexel freshman guard Kennell Sanchez hit one of two free throws. After Sanchez missed his second free-throw attempt, the Rams could not get a shot off in time and their season ended.

Besides hitting the game-winning shot, Battle also scored sixteen points, pulled down six rebounds and blocked four shots. Senior guard Eric Schmeider and Sanchez also scored in double figures as both scored twelve points. High scorers for Virginia Commonwealth included Taylor with nineteen points, junior guard Domonic Jones with fourteen points and junior forward Troy Godwin with eleven points and eleven rebounds.

The win places the Dragons in the CAA final against defending champion and No.1 seed UNC Wilmington tonight in a nationally televised contest on ESPN2. Drexel lost both games to the Seahawks this season, by scores of 88-86 and 77-56 respectively.

     

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