Monarchs Hold Off Hokies at Home, 72-69

December 16, 2007
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Dec. 16, 2007

Box Score

NORFOLK, Va. -- The Old Dominion basketball team (6-4) held off a second half surge by the Hokies of Virginia Tech (5-4) to win its third straight and end a three-game winning streak for VT. Senior point guard Brandon Johnson (Orlando, Fla.) led the Monarchs with 15 points, nine assists and five rebounds. He also added four steals and a block for the game. Tech was led by freshman forward Jeff Allen with a double-double, 13 points and 16 rebounds.

ODU hit the ground running right from the opening tip and led by 12 at the break, 45-33. The ODU guards were on a torrid shooting pace in the first half, hitting their first 10 shots from the field. Five guards combined for 32 of ODU's first half points, including a 7-of-8 shooting performance from beyond the arc. Johnson led the Monarchs with 10 in the half, adding four assists in the period.

Old Dominion shot 60% from the field (18-of-30) in the first, compared to Tech's 41.4% (12-for-29). Turnovers were the key, as the Hokies turned the ball over 9 times in the half, leading to 14 ODU points. VT was led by A.D. Vassallo in the first with 12 points and two rebounds.

The second half offered fans a completely different ball game as both teams battled for the win. Tech would nearly erase the 12-point deficit in the first six minutes of the half, cutting it to three on a Vassallo free throw. The Monarchs started half just 1-for-6 in that first stretch, with four turnovers, matching the total from the first half. The lead would never reach double digits again as both teams struggled from the field in the second half.

The Monarchs would find the game-changing moment off a Hokie turnover on an inbounds play with 5:32 remaining. Brandon Johnson would steal the inbounds pass and find freshman Ben Finney (Porstmouth, Va.) streaking through the paint for the slam. The dunk brought the crowd back into it, and then Johnson would force another turnover leading to another Finney layup giving ODU an 8-point lead with 5:14 to go.

The ACC in-state rival would not go away, cutting the lead to four just a minute later with a long-range jumper from Malcom Delaney, and then again to just a two-point lead off a three-pointer from Vassallo with just 26 seconds remaining. The Hokies would foul Johnson, who missed the back end of the free-throws, giving VT a shot at a tie with a three-pointer.

Sophomore Gerald Lee would step up big with a block of Jeff Allen's layup opportunity in the final seconds and then the Hokies would miss on a last second three-quarter court heave that could have sent the game into overtime.

The Monarchs were beat in the paint, outrebounded by a 45-25 margin and outscored 32-25, but the Monarchs would capitalize off turnovers, outscoring the Hokies 25-7 in that category. The Monarchs winded up forcing 16 total turnovers, with nine steals and eight blocks in the game.

Old Dominion shot 49.1% from the field in the game (28-57) while Virginia Tech shot 39.7% (23-58). Both teams were good from beyond the arc with ODU shooting 52.6% (10-of-19) and Tech shooting 46.2% (6-of-13). Virginia Tech's Jeff Allen's 16 boards tied the Ted Constant rebound record held by ODU's Alex Loughton (vs, George Mason 2-28-04)and St. Joseph's Dwayne Jones (12-22-04).

ODU will now hit the road for a three-game road swing starting at Richmond on December 19 at 7:00 pm. The Monarchs are now 6-4 on the season, with all four losses coming to nationally ranked programs.

ODU's win is the fourth in the last five meetings against the Hokies. Tonight's sellout was the second this year and the ninth overall at the Ted.