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Monarchs Reach CAA Championship after 77-69 Victory over Hofstra

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: March 06, 2011
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March 6, 2011

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RICHMOND, Va. - Frank Hassell scored 22 points and second-seeded Old Dominion earned the right to defend its Colonial Athletic Association tournament championship with a 77-69 victory against Hofstra in the semifinals on Sunday.

Darius James added 16 points - his season-high in CAA games this season - and Kent Bazemore had 11 as the Monarchs (26-6) shot 57 percent in winning their eighth in a row, and 12th of their last 13.

Hofstra (21-11), playing beyond the quarterfinals for the first time since 2006, got 16 points from two-time CAA player of the year Charles Jenkins and 12 from Mike Moore, but couldn't slow the bigger, more physical Monarchs near the basket.

Old Dominion outscored the Pride 38-20 in the paint and outrebounded them 34-27.

The Monarchs will face arch-rival and fourth-seeded Virginia Commonwealth University, which upset top-seeded George Mason 79-63 in Sunday's first semifinal, for the championship.

Old Dominion shot better than 58 percent in the first half and led 41-34 at the break.

Hofstra trailed by 11 in the second half before Jenkins made 3-pointers 1:48 apart - the second with 12:01 left, ending a 7-2 spurt - to pull the Pride within 56-50. But they had no answer for the Monarchs' inside game. Hassell answered Jenkins' second 3 with a pair of free throws, and Bazemore scored on a drive, pushing Old Dominion's lead to 60-50 with 9:01 to go.

The Pride got as close as seven thereafter, but after Moore's layup made it 66-59 with 5:03 to play, Trian Iliadis penetrated on the left baseline for a layup for Old Dominion, Jenkins was stripped at the other end and James' layup boosted the lead to 70-59.

The Pride never threatened again. Hassell hit 10-of-12 from the free throw line and six-of nine from the field along with four rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot. Bazemore netted 11, dished out two assists and blocked three shots.

Senior Keyon Carter came off the bench to lad all rebounders with eight along with 10 points.

ODU shot .571 (28-49) from the field, while Hofstra hit .446 (25-56) and the Monarchs outrebounded the Pride 34-27.

The ODU senior class now has 96 career wins and senior Ben Finney has now played in 137 career games, tying him for first place with Gerald Lee who set the mark last year. Fellow seniors Frank Hassell and Darius James are one game back at 136.

ODU and VCU played twice during the regular season in front of sellout crowds with the Rams winning at the Constant Center, 59-50 and ODU winning in the Siegel Center, 70-59.

The two teams last played in the CAA finals in 2005 with ODU winnning, 73-66 in overtime. Last year, the Monarchs beat the Rams in the CAA semi-finals, 73-69 in overtime.

80 tickets will be available for purchase at the ODU Fan Party for 25.00 each (CASH ONLY). The pre-game Fan party begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Richmond Convention Center, directly across from the Marriott Hotel. There are also limited tickets available at the Colisuem box office or on ticketmaster.ODU fans in attendance are asked to wear white Monday night. The game will be televised on ESPN with announcers Mike Patrick and Jimmy Dykes.

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