Old Dominion Survives OT Thriller To Advance To CAA Championship Game
By ODU Athletics
March 7, 2010
RICHMOND, Va. - Old Dominion overcame a 12-point second half deficit and senior Gerald Lee scored a career-high tying 26 points in a thrilling 73-69 overtime win against VCU in the semifinals of the 2010 Virginia 529 College Savings Plan CAA Men's Basketball Championships Sunday afternoon. The game was played in front of a sell-out crowd of 11,200 fans at the Richmond Coliseum.
The Monarchs advance to their seventh conference championship game and first since 2005. Old Dominion (25-8) now has six seasons with 25 or more wins, with three of those coming under Head Coach Blaine Taylor.
Lee, who shot 10-of-13 from the floor, scored 20 or more for the fifth time this season. He now sits only 32 points shy of Kenny Gattison for 10th on the all-time Monarch scoring list. Classmate Marsharee Neely and junior Ben Finney each scored 11 in the win.
Old Dominion, which is ranked fifth nationally in rebounding margin and set a tournament record for most rebounds in a game on Saturday, held a 44-27 advantage on the boards.
In a first half that saw the lead change seven times, the Monarchs went into the break with a 32-29 lead. Lee scored 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting and ODU held a 25-13 advantage on the boards. Nine Old Dominion turnovers kept the Rams, who shot just 35.7 percent from the field, close.
VCU held its largest first half lead, 18-13, after a Brandon Rozzell steal and fast break jumper that capped a 7-0 run. The Monarchs turned a five-point deficit into a five-point advantage with a 16-6 run over the next six minutes. A Kent Bazemore free throw sent ODU into the intermission with the three-point edge.
The Rams came out of the half scorching, netting the first 10 points to go up 39-32. VCU took its largest lead of the game, 52-40, after T.J. Qwynn converted a breakaway dunk after a steal by Joey Rodriguez.
The Monarchs began to chip away at the Rams lead though, going on a 12-3 spurt which was capped by a Bazemore lay-in off a dazzling full-court pass from Darius James. ODU would tie the game at 60 with a Neely put-back of a James miss with 2:46 remaining.
Rodriguez hit a floater on the ensuing VCU possession to give the Rams a 62-60 lead. The Monarchs once again had an answer though and on ODU's next possession, Lee drove on the right wing and hit a jumper over VCU's Larry Sanders.
With under a minute to play both teams had opportunities to win the game in regulation. James missed a jumper with 40 seconds to go, but the ball would go out of bounds off a VCU player. With the shot clocked shut off, Lee possessed the ball just above the three-point line, but he was called for a travel which gave the Rams the ball with six seconds left in regulation.
Rodriguez drove the length off the court and passed inside to Sanders, but the junior could not get a shot off as the horn expired.
In the overtime session, the Monarchs didn't miss a shot, going 4-of-4 from the floor and 2-of-2 from the free throw line.
A Bazemore steal and breakaway jam gave ODU a 68-66 lead, its first since the Rams' 10-0 run out of halftime. VCU missed two shot attempts on its next possession and Finney drilled a triple to give the Monarchs a five-point lead, which matched ODU's largest of the game.
Rozzell hit a three with 35 seconds remaining in overtime to cut the Monarch lead to 71-69. VCU regained possession after a five second call was whistled on ODU. Looking to tie, VCU's Ed Nixon drove to the basket, but missed his jumper and Lee tapped the ball to a streaking Neely who was fouled. After Lee was fouled, the senior drilled a pair of free throws with under a second remaining to ice the game.
The Monarchs have won four straight games and seven of their last eight contests.
Old Dominion will take on the winner of the other semifinal between second-seeded Northeastern and third-seeded William & Mary. The Monarchs lost their only meeting with the Huskies, but swept two matchups against the Tribe.
The game will be televised live on ESPN beginning at 7 p.m. Mike Patrick and Jimmy Dykes will be on the call.