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Monarchs Defeat Manhattan 70-66; Face Hofstra on Wednesday

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: March 20, 2006
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March 20, 2006

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NORFOLK- Junior forward Valdas Vasylius (Klaipeda, Lithuania) drained two free throws with 1.5 seconds left on the clock after surviving a last gasp Manhatten effort to give the Old Dominion Monarchs a 70-66 win over Manhattan in the NIT 2nd round at the Ted Constant Center. The Monarchs will now face CAA rival Hofstra on Wednesday in Hempstead, NY in the NIT quarterfinals . Senior forward Alex Loughton (Perth, Australia) scored a game-high 20 points in his last home game as a Monarch.

Neither team could gain a decisive advantage in a back and forth first half that saw eight ties and four lead changes. A trey by Abdi Lidonde (Sutton, MA) gave the Monarchs their largest lead of the first half at 24-19 with 8:40 left in the half. Manhattan would storm back behind Guy Ngarndi to tie the ballgame at 27-27 before free throws converted by Loughton and Drew Williamson (Burlington, NC) gave the Monarchs a 32-29 lead going into the locker rooms.

In the second half, the Monarchs would grab their largest lead of the night off of Williamson's steal and coast to coast finger roll finish to put the score at 47-39 with 11:30 remaining. Once again, the Jaspers would make another comeback when Kenny Minor scored a bucket and then nailed a trey to put Manhattan in the lead 50-48.

Old Dominion would respond to that rally with a 9-0 run that featured five points from junior Arnaud Dahi (Ivory Coast) as the Monarchs held a 57-50 lead with 2:36 remaining.

After Manhattan dwindled the Monarch lead to two, 66-64, with :29 ticks left on the clock, Jason Wingate converted on a fast break to bring the score to 66-66. Sophomore Brandon Johnson (Orlando, Fl) was then fouled with :11 seconds left, and drained both free throws.

Manhattan's Devon Austin attempted a long three pointer with four seconds left that barely missed the goal, and Vasylius iced the game with his two free throws to send the Monarchs into the NIT quarterfinals.

Along with his 20 points, Loughton added nine rebounds and converted ten of 12 free throws. He now ranks 10th all-time on ODU's career scoring list with 1636, and 8th in rebounds with 936.

Dahi contributed 13 points, and with that broke the 1,000 career point plateau, now possessing 1003 career points. Freshman Jonathan Adams (Ringold, GA) made the start tonight, and set a new career high in rebounds with 7. Williamson added six points, four assists, and four steals for the Monarchs.

Team wise, the Monarchs were out shot percentage wise .404% to .333% but made up for that by grabbing 44 rebounds to 37 boards for the Jaspers, and converting 27 of 36 free throw attempts on the game.

For Manhattan, Jeff Xavier scored a team-high 19 points and added seven boards, while Jason Wingate poured in 18 points and dished out four assists.

The win over Manhattan is only the second time in school history that the Monarchs have won two games in the NIT, the other time taking place in 1979. ODU has matched up twice with Hofstra this season, losing 76-68 at home and 65-63 in Hempstead.

The quarterfinal with Hofstra will take place at 7:00 p.m. and will be televised live on ESPNU. Fans that want to attend the game are advised to call the Hofstra ticket office for more information at 516-463-8499. CI Travel will assist fans with either a bus or airline package and are asked to call Tuesday morning after 9 a.m. at 757-627-8000.

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