Isaiah Hunter's Three-Pointer In Closing Seconds Leads ODU to 79-76 Win Over William & Mary
By ODU Athletics
Feb. 25, 2004
NORFOLK, VA - Isaiah Hunter's (Charlotte, NC) three-pointer in the closing seconds of the game lifted the Old Dominion men's basketball team to a 79-76 victory over William & Mary Wednesday night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center, ending a two-game losing streak. The Monarchs improve to 16-10 overall for the season and 11-6 in the Colonial Athletic Association, remaining tied with George Mason for third in the CAA standings. William & Mary drops to 7-19 overall, with a 4-13 CAA mark.
The Monarchs trailed early, 5-0, by the 18:04 mark of the first half, before Arnaud Dahi (Ivory Coast, Africa) put ODU on the board with a jumper, to bring the score to 5-2. ODU trailed 9-4 with 17:05 left in the half, before rolling off five straight points to tie the game at 9 at the 16:26 mark. John Waller (Richmond, VA) and Valdas Vasylius (Klaipeda, Lithuania) both made a lay-up during the run. Trailing 10-9, moments later, T.J. Waldon (Lakeland, FL) made a lay-up to give the Monarchs their first lead of the game, 11-10, with 15:34 remaining in the half. ODU scored the next four points, capped by Alex Loughton's (Perth, Australia) two free throws, to take a 15-10 lead by the 14:24 mark of the half. With 11:30 remaining in the half, the Monarch lead was down to just two points, 17-15, before Valdas Vasylius made a lay-up to extend the lead back out to four points, 19-15, at the 11:12 mark. The Monarchs took their largest lead of the first half, six points, with just under six minutes remaining in the half, taking a 29-23 lead after Kiah Thomas (Norfolk, VA) connected on a three-pointer. William & Mary, however, scored the next seven points of the half, to once again take the lead, 30-29, with 3:39 remaining in the half. Isaiah Hunter (Charlotte, NC) connected on two free throws moments later to give the Monarchs the 31-30 lead, with 3:20 remaining in the half, and an Alex Loughton lay-up and a three-pointer by Hunter extended the ODU lead to six points once more, 36-30. Two William & Mary free throws late in the half cut the Monarch lead to four points, 38-34, going into halftime.
ODU extended their lead to nine points, 43-34, a minute into the second half, after Alex Loughton connected on a jumper. William & Mary cut the Monarch lead to just four points, 47-43, at the 15:56 mark of the half, but ODU bounced back to take their largest lead of the game, 12 points, at the 10:31 mark, grabbing the 61-49 advantage after back-to-back baskets by Arnaud Dahi and Janko Mrksic (Ontario, Canada). ODU still held a 10-point lead, 63-53, at the nine minute mark, but with 8:27 remaining in the game, the Monarchs held just a six point lead, 63-57. Two free throws by Alex Loughton and a jumper by Isaiah Hunter helped extend ODU's lead back to 10 points, 67-57, with 6:38 left in the game, but a 10-1 run by the Tribe left the Monarchs with just a one point advantage, 68-67, with 3:23 left to play. Drew Williamson (Burlington, NC) made a lay-up to extend the Monarch lead to three points, 70-67, and a free throw by Williamson further extended the ODU lead to 71-67, but with just over two minutes left to play, ODU clung to a two-point, 73-71 lead. Arnaud Dahi, then, connected on a three-pointer to grab a five-point, 76-71 lead, but William & Mary's Zebb Cope answered with a trey of his own to once again cut the ODU lead to just two points. Two free throws by Adam Hess tied the game at 76 with just under 30 seconds left in the game, but Isaiah Hunter's three-pointer with nine seconds remaining in the game gave the Monarchs the victory.
The Monarchs were out-shot 45.3% (24-53) to 42.2% (27-64) from the floor Wednesday night, and were out-shot 53.3% (8-15) to 26.9% (7-26) from behind the arc, but out-rebounded the Tribe by a 43-30 margin. Alex Loughton led all Monarch scorers with 16 points, and grabbed nine rebounds. Isaiah Hunter scored 13 points, while Arnaud Dahi and Valdas Vasylius scored 11 and 10 points, respectively. Janko Mrksic and T.J. Waldon enjoyed career nights. Mrksic six points tied his previous career high, but the six rebounds is now a high mark for him. Waldon's eight points is a new career high for him.
Adam Hess was the game's leading scorer for William & Mary, with 20 points. Corey Cofield added 18 points, Zebb Cope had 15 and Taylor Mokris ended with 14 points.
ODU finishes off their regular season Saturday night, February 28, when they take on the George Mason University Patriots at home. With George Mason's 59-46 victory over UNC-Wilmington tonight, the two schools remain tied for third place in the conference, meaning the Saturday game will determine the third seed in the CAA Tournament. Tip-off is at 7:00 PM. It will also be senior night for John Waller and Troy Nance.
Old Dominion University Head Coach: Blaine Taylor "Great game. Both teams made play after play after play down the stretch. The big zone and big line up helped us. Our bench, in all positions stepped up. I thought the contributions of T.J. (Waldon) and Janko (Mrksic) were impeccable. Isaiah (Hunter) has always had a sense of belief to go make plays. He had the ball and made a real nice play. Down the stretch, you look at Drew (Williamson), John (Waller), and (Arnuad) Dahi; they really stepped up."
"We have become a contender and it's been good for our kids; a good experience. We've won a lot of close conference games and that should give our kids confidence. I want them to carry themselves with dignity, a quiet confidence."
Sophomore Guard, Isaiah Hunter "I knew when I got the ball I had to make a big play and I did. Coach (Taylor) really does a good job telling us to move on to the next play and that's what I did, moved on."
William & Mary Head Coach: Tony Shaver "Great basketball game. He (Isaiah Hunter) hit a great shot at the end of the basketball game. I am proud of our team, we played hard enough and well enough for us to win, but a great shot kept us from it. We got open shots and we made open shots. It was a huge day. They had 21 offensive rebounds on us tonight. They are very aggressive."
On Isaiah Hunter's Game Winning 3-Pointer: "It was a deep shot made by a great player. Games are decided by players making great plays and he made a great play."
Senior Forward, Adam Hess: "We were fighting back, trying to get in. We made some tough shots tonight. We've lost a lot of close games and it hurts. It's almost better to lose by 50, then you know you never had a shot. We are just close with everyone and one day someone's going to miss that 3, I just hope it's before my career is over."
Senior Forward, Zeb Cope: "I think it is just one of those things. We were just sick and tired of close games and it gave us a different feeling tonight. We have to keep fighting and continue playing as a team."