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Monarchs Drop Home Opener to #13 St. Joseph's, 75-72

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: November 29, 2003
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Nov. 29, 2003

Box Score

NORFOLK, VA -The Old Dominion men's basketball team dropped a narrow 75-72 decision to #13 St. Joseph's Saturday night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center in their 2003-04 home opener. Alex Loughton (Perth, Australia) led all Monarch scorers with a career-high 24 points, and also added a career-high 15 rebounds for a double-double. Isaiah Hunter (Charlotte, NC) scored 21 points for the Monarchs and freshman Arnaud Dahi (Ivory Coast, Africa) contributed another double-double, with 10 points and 12 rebounds. ODU falls to 0-2 for the season, while St. Joseph's improves to 3-0.

The Monarchs started the game with a 6-0 run before a Jameer Nelson layup gave the Hawks their first score of the night 2:30 into the game. ODU held a 8-2 advantage before St. Joseph's came back to grab a 16-point lead, 30-14, with 7:02 left in the first half. The Monarchs, however, came up with a 13-1 run to cut the Hawks' lead to four, 31-27, with just over four minutes left in the half. St. Joseph's came up with a 6-0 run of their own, though, to stretch their lead out to 10, 37-27, with just under a minute left in the half. Two free throws by Valdas Vasylius (Klaipeda, Lithuania) cut the lead to eight, but a made layup by St. Joseph's at the buzzer gave the Hawks a 10-point 39-29 lead at the half.

In the first half, the Monarchs shot four of five (80%) of their free throws, compared to the Hawks' six of 11 (54.5%). ODU out-rebounded St. Joseph's 21-17 and had just two more turnovers (12-10) than the Hawks, but shot only 11 of 32 (34.4%), while St. Joseph's shot 53.6% (15 of 18) from the field.

A Jameer Nelson free throw put St. Joseph's up by 11 points, 40-29, just 45 seconds into the second half before ODU went on a quick 10-0 run to cut the lead to just one point, 40-39, with 16:24 left in the game. The Hawks, however, answered back with six straight points of their own to retake a seven-point advantage, 46-39, at the 15:15 mark. St. Joseph's stretched their lead to as much as 14 points twice in the second half, the last being with the Hawks leading 61-47 nearly 10 minutes into the half. ODU whittled down the deficit in the final minutes of the half, capped by Isaiah Hunter's layup with 46 seconds left in the game to cut the St. Joseph's lead to just two points, 72-70. St. Joseph's regained control of the ball, allowing Jameer Nelson to hit a three-pointer from well behind the arc to give the Hawks a 75-70 lead with just nine seconds left in the game. Hunter connected on another layup with three seconds left in the game to cut the Monarch deficit to 75-72, but St. Joseph's took possession of the ball in the final seconds to take the 75-72 victory.

"I know we had the game in our hands," ODU Head Coach Blaine Taylor said after the game. "I know Jameer (Nelson) is a good player, but the shot was a back breaker.

"We had to grow up in junctures of the game. We had to execute to play with this team. I thought we had two or three stretches where we showed our youth. We grew during the course of the evening. A play or two here and there and we maybe sitting here in overtime."

For the game, St. Joseph's Jameer Nelson and ODU's Alex Loughton scored a game-high 24 points a piece, followed closely by the Hawks' Delonte West's 23. Chet Stachitas scored 11 points for St. Joseph's to give the Hawks three double-figure scorers for the game. The Monarchs also had three in double-figures: Loughton's 24, Hunter's 21 and Arnaud Dahi's 10. ODU shot 38.6% from the field for the game, compared to St. Joseph's 52.7%, but committed 20 turnovers to the Hawks' 15. ODU did, however, have a commanding 49-25 rebounding advantage for the game. Coming into the game, the Monarchs averaged a -5.0 rebounding margin, which ranked 10th in the Colonial Athletic Association.

The Monarchs next travel to Virginia Tech Thursday, December 4, before returning to the Constant Center Saturday, December 6, to face Charlotte at 7:00 PM.

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