FRISCO, Texas – The No. 2 seed Old Dominion men’s basketball team (25-6, 15-3) took down No. 10 seed LA Tech (17-16, 7-11) by a 62-58 score in the Quarterfinals of the 2018 Conference USA Tournament at The Star. With the win, the Monarchs will take on No. 3 seed Western Kentucky tomorrow, Friday, March 9 at 4:00 p.m. EST on CBS Sports Network.
With 9:45 to play in the second half, ODU held a six point advantage, 43-37, before the Bulldogs went on an 8-0 run to take a 45-43 lead at the 7:40 mark. The Monarchs utilized a 6-0 run to claim a 56-51 advantage with 3:54 to play. With 1:57 remaining in regulation, LA Tech tied the contest at 58-58, but wouldn’t score the rest of the way, as a Trey Porter dunk and two B.J. Stith free-throws sealed the deal on Thursday night in Frisco.
“As the saying goes, you just try to survive and advance," said ODU head coach Jeff Jones. "Surviving is probably just the apt description. We played better in the second half, but obviously, Louisiana Tech gave us everything we could handle. We had to make some plays at the end. We did a much better job offensively in the second half putting the ball in the basket. We made a concerted effort to throw the ball inside and as a result, we also got to the free-throw line. B.J. (Stith) is the guy that when the game is on the line, we try to put the ball in his hands. Going 7 for 7 from the free-throw line was huge as well. We’re very excited. It wasn’t our best performance, but you just have to find a way and fortunately for us, we were able to do that.”
B.J. Stith poured in a game-high 22 points (7-7 FT and 3-6 3PT), to go along with a game-high 12 rebounds. Trey Porter (7-9 FG and 4-4 FT) finished with 18 points, two rebounds and two blocks. Ahmad Caver went for 10 rebounds, eight assists (one turnover), seven rebounds and three steals. Brandan Stith chipped in nine points, seven rebounds and three blocks.
“We made a concerted effort to go inside and we tried to establish that inside presence from the opening tip-off and that really helped us in the second half," explained B.J. Stith. "They tried to sit in Brandon’s (Stith) and Trey’s (Porter) lap and double team them and take the ball out of their hands and that freed me and Ahmad (Caver) up on the outside.”
For the game, ODU connected on 88.9% (16-18) from the charity stripe, while holding the Bulldogs to 37.7% (23-61) shooting from the floor, 30.3% (10-33) shooting from deep and 40.0% (2-5) shooting from the free-throw line.
The contest experienced 10 lead changes and six ties. ODU led for 19:05, LA Tech led for 15:09 and the ballgame was tied for 5:46. Entering the game, the Bulldogs averaged 75.3 points per outing; the Monarchs held them 17 points under their average on Thursday night.
After trailing 19-10 at the 9:23 mark of the first half, the Monarchs would close the half on a 15-5 run to claim a 25-24 lead at halftime, led by Trey Porter’s half-high eight points.