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Old Dominion Powers Past Hofstra, 61-51

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: March 22, 2006
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March 22, 2006

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Hempstead, N.Y. - Senior guard Isaiah Hunter (Charlotte, NC) scored 29 points, including 19 in the second half, to lead the Old Dominion Men's Basketball team to a 61-51 victory over Hofstra in the quarterfinals of the National Invitation Tournament on Wednesday evening at Hofstra Arena.

The loss ends Hofstra's season at 26-7, while the Monarchs (24-9) advance to the NIT semifinals next Tuesday at Madison Square Garden. The loss also ended the Pride's 21-game home winning streak, the second longest streak in the nation behind Gonzaga.

The first half saw both teams unable to find their ways in the opening minutes as the score was tied at four nearly five minutes into the third meeting between the two conference rivals. Hunter would nail his first three-pointer at the 13:43 mark to give ODU an early 9-6 advantage before a three from Pride senior forward Aurimas Kieza (Marijampole, Lithuania) put Hofstra up 11-10, 7:35 into the contest.

It would be nip and tuck the remainder of the first stanza before freshman forward Chris Gadley (Amherst, NY) blocked a shot from Valdus Vasylius of ODU and responded with a basket at the other end to put the Pride ahead, 24-21. Drew Williamson then evened the score with a three at the 1:29 mark before junior guard Antoine Agudio (Huntington Station, NY) and junior guard Carlos Rivera (San German, PR) sank back-to-back three-pointers for a 30-24 halftime lead.

A layup from senior forward Adrian Uter (Queens, NY) 30 seconds into the second stanza pushed Hofstra's advantage up to eight before Old Dominion began to mount its comeback. A pair of three-pointers from Hunter got the Monarchs within two, 32-30, with 18:07 remaining, and ODU would eventually even the contest at 37 following an old-fashioned three-point play from junior forward Arnaud Dahi (Abdijan, Ivory Coast) at the 13:12 mark.

The two teams would battle back and forth over the next four-plus minutes before Dahi came up big again. Dahi would score consecutive Old Dominion baskets, sandwiched around a jumper from junior guard Loren Stokes (Buffalo, NY) that would give the Monarchs a 47-43 lead with 6:48 remaining in regulation.

The Pride was able to close the gap to one at the 4:12 mark as Rivera found the hoop on a driving layup off a feed from Stokes, before Vasylius tallied another old-fashioned three-point play for Old Dominion to push the lead back to four with less than four minutes to play.

Stokes would cut the deficit to two with a pair of free throws at the 2:13 mark, but that would be as close as Hofstra would get as Old Dominion was 8-10 from the charity stripe in the final two minutes of the contest to seal the win.

Uter broke the school record for blocked shots in a season with 66, eclipsing the previous record of 65 set by David Taylor in 1982-83. He also finished with seven points and a game-high 11 rebounds in his final collegiate game. Agudio led Hofstra with 13 points, while Stokes added 12 points and seven rebounds. Hunter was joined in double figures for the Monarchs by Dahi who had 10 points.

Hofstra ends the season with a school-record tying 26 wins, equaling the standard first set in 1951-52 and matched in 2000-01. The Pride was also 14-1 at home this year, after not losing a home game since Old Dominion came away with a 67-66 win at Hofstra Arena on Jan. 19, 2005.

Old Dominion, meanwhile, has been 14-1 at home in each of the last two seasons, with the Pride accounting for both of those losses, including a 66-63 victory last year which spoiled the Monarchs' perfect 14-0 home record.

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