REGULAR SEASON CAA CHAMPS: ODU Ends Perfect Home Season With Thrilling Win Over VCU
Feb. 27, 2010
NORFOLK, Va. - Gerald Lee scored a game-high 21 points in his final home game and Old Dominion clinched the Colonial Athletic Association regular season championship with a 73-70 win over VCU at a sold-out Ted Constant Center Saturday afternoon.
Old Dominion (23-8, 15-3 CAA) wrapped up its first regular season title since the 2004-05 season. The Monarchs went on to win the CAA Tournament and advance to the NCAA Tournament that same season.
Lee netted his fourth 20-plus point performance this year with 21 points on 9-of-14 shooting. Junior Frank Hassell posted a season-high 17 points on 8-of-9 shooting. As a team ODU shot over 50-percent (56.6) for the third time in its last four outings.
The Monarchs also dominated the boards, holding a 34-22 advantage, led by a game-high seven rebounds from sophomore Kent Bazemore.
In a thrilling game that saw eight ties and 11 lead changes, Old Dominion took its largest lead of the game, 49-43, after senior Marsharee Neely converted a lay-up with 15:52 remaining in the game.
After trading baskets the next four possessions, VCU went on a 14-4 run to take its largest lead of the afternoon, 61-57, midway through the second half.
Still up four (68-64) with 4:51 to go, the Monarchs rattled off the next seven points, capped by a Darius James fast-break lay-in with under two minutes to go. Jamie Skeen then hit an elbow jumper on VCU's next possession to cut the Monarch lead to a single point with less than a minute on the clock.
On ODU's ensuing possession, James had his shot attempt blocked by Larry Sanders, but VCU could not hold onto the ball and junior Ben Finney got it to Lee, who was fouled.
Lee missed the front end of the one-and-one, but Bazemore grabbed the rebound before getting fouled. Bazemore hit one-of-two from the charity stripe, giving the Rams a chance to tie or take the lead.
VCU's Joey Rodriguez got a good look at a jumper from the top of the key, but it rimmed out and Hassell corralled the rebound. After being fouled, Hassell hit one-of-two from the free throw line, giving the Monarchs a 73-70 lead with only six seconds remaining.
Looking to send the game into overtime, Rodriguez pushed the ball up the court and got it to teammate Brandon Rozzell, but his three-point attempt from the left wing glanced off the rim and Finney grabbed the rebound as time expired.
Old Dominion concluded the 2009-10 regular season with a perfect 14-0 home record. Overall, the Monarchs have won 23 straight at the Ted Constant Center, which is the third longest active home winning streak in the nation.
The CAA Tournament runs March 5-8 in Richmond, Va. The Monarchs will be the No. 1 seed, garnering a first-round bye. ODU will play its first game on Saturday, March 6 at 12 noon against the winner of the 8/9 game that will be played on Friday.