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Monarchs Win CAA Title Over Rams, 73-66 In OT

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: March 07, 2005
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March 7, 2005

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By HANK KURZ Jr.
AP Sports Writer

RICHMOND, Va. - Alex Loughton scored six of his 28 points in overtime and Old Dominion got its NCAA tournament bid Monday night, beating Virginia Commonwealth 73-66 for the Colonial Athletic Association title.

The Monarchs (28-5), who might have been able to lose and still get in the field of 65, won't have to try their luck with the selection committee as they rode the play of the CAA player of he year.

Loughton scored on a drive with 52 seconds left in regulation and finished the three-point play to tie it, then scored in the lane, from about 17 feet out and from the foul line early in the extra period.

The Rams (19-12) cut a 69-63 deficit in half on B.A. Walker's 3-pointer with 13.9 seconds left, but Drew Williamson hit a pair of free throws with 12 seconds to play and the Monarchs were home free.

Old Dominion finished 12-for-13 from the line in the overtime.

It is the first CAA title for Old Dominion since 1997, when VCU coach Jeff Capel's father was coaching the Monarchs, and deprived the Rams of their second consecutive championship under the younger Capel.

Loughton also grabbed 11 rebounds for the Monarchs, who got 14 points from Kiah Thomas and 13 from Isaiah Hunter.

Pellot-Rosa led the Rams with 15 points, Walker had 14 and Nick George and Michael Doles each had 11, though both shot poorly.

The Rams, seeded second in the league, joined semifinals losers North Carolina-Wilmington and Hofstra in hoping for bids to the NIT.

Both teams had a chance to win late in regulation.

With the score tied at 55, the Rams worked the ball around until George lost the handle around the foul line with 28 seconds left. The Monarchs ran the clock down before Hunter drove and missed, the rebound getting batted around and out of bounds and the game going to overtime.

Then Loughton took over to get the Monarchs on their way.

The Rams trailed by 11 several times early in the second half, but Pellot-Rosa's 12-footer from the baseline sparked a 14-2 run that gave them a 40-39 lead, their first since very early, with 11:51 left.

Walker hit two 3-pointers in the run, and Doles hit a leaning 18-footer for just his fourth field goal in his last 20 tries.

Losing the lead seemed to wake the Monarchs, who scored six of the next eight points, and the lead changed hands eight more times; the last when Pellot-Rosa made a 3-pointer for the Rams with 2:28 to play.

That created a 55-52 lead, but Loughton drew a foul and broke Old Dominion's 4{-minute scoreless streak by getting fouled on a basket and making the free throw, tying the game at 55 with 52 seconds to go.

The shot was especially big for Loughton, who missed the front end of a one-and-one with 3 minutes left, and for the Monarchs.

The Monarchs led most of the first half thanks to a 25-9 run that started with them trailing 7-1 and ended with 5 minutes left in the half. Loughton scored eight in the spurt and Isaiah Hunter and Kiah Thomas had five each. Both hit a 3-pointer during the 12-minute run. Sophomore guard Drew Williamson played the entire tournament without committing a turnover.

CAA ALL TOURNAMENT TEAM
Alex Loughton, ODU (MVP) Isaiah Hunter, ODU Drew Williamson, ODU Antonie Agudio, Hofstra Nick George, VCU Jesse Pellot-Rosa, VCU

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