Monarchs Finish Non-Conference Action With 74-52 Victory over VMI
By ODU Athletics
Dec. 29, 2003
NORFOLK, VA (Dec. 29, 2003) - The Old Dominion men's basketball team rolled to its largest win of the season Monday night, defeating the VMI Keydets 74-52 in their final non-conference game, at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Arnaud Dahi (Ivory Coast, Africa) led Monarch scorers with a career high 15 points, shooting 6 of 8 from the field, as ODU improves to 5-4 for the season. VMI falls to 2-8.
The Monarchs started the game with a 5-0 run, off a Alex Loughton (Perth, Australia) layup and John Waller (Richmond, VA) three-pointer, before the Keydets got on the board with a Tadas Mankevicius layup, bringing the score to 5-2. ODU held a 7-2 lead by the 16:05 mark before VMI rolled off six straight points, capped by Matt Murrer's four points, to take a 8-7 lead with 11:56 remaining in the half. ODU answered back with eight straight points of their own, to take a 15-8 lead with 9:46 left in the half. Arnaud Dahi had a layup and a dunk during the run. A Mankevicius layup half a minute later for VMI broke the Monarch run and cut the lead down to five points, 15-10. A three-pointer by Isaiah Hunter (Charlotte, NC) gave ODU the 20-12 lead at the 6:55 mark, and another three by Dahi seconds later gave the Monarchs an 11-point lead, 23-12. VMI cut the lead down to eight points, 27-19, by the 3:39 mark in the half, but six unanswered points by ODU, led by Dahi's four, put the Monarchs on top by 15 points, 34-19 with just over two minutes left in the half. Matt Coward connected on a free throw for VMI with 35 seconds left in the half to send the game into the half with a 34-20 score.
Isaiah Hunter kicked things off for ODU in the second half, connecting on a three-pointer 26 seconds into the game to give the Monarchs their biggest lead of the game thus far, 17 points, 37-20. The Keydets, however, was able to cut the lead to nine points, 39-30, by the 15:12 mark of the half, off Matt Murrer's four points. Troy Nance's (Virginia Beach, VA) three-pointer with 14:10 remaining in the game put ODU back up by 14 points, 44-30 before VMI was able to whittle down the lead to just eight points, 46-38, at the 9:38 mark. The Monarchs came up with seven unanswered points to increase their lead to 15 points, 53-38, at the 7:33 mark. John Waller had five points during the ODU run. By the 3:46 mark, the Monarchs held a 20-point lead, 63-43, and off a T.J. Waldon (Lakeland, FL) layup, ODU took a 65-43, 22-point lead, with 2:41 left in the game. The Keydets were unable to come closer than 16 points, 67-51, at the 1:29 the rest of the way, with ODU ending up with the 22-point win, 74-52.
ODU out-shot the Keydets 47.5% (29 of 61) to 39.6% (21 of 53) for the game, while connecting on 33.3% of their three-point attempts (8 of 24). VMI was 2 of 10 from behind the arc for the game. The Keydets committed 19 turnovers to the Monarchs' 10 and were out-rebounded by a 39-35 margin. ODU had 10 blocks for the game, while VMI had none. Arnaud Dahi led all Monarch scorers with 15 points, followed by Isaiah Hunter's 14, Valdas Vasylius' (Klaipeda, Lithuania) 11 and Alex Loughton's 10. VMI's Richard Little led all scorers with 17, followed by Sam Mielnik's 11 points. ODU kicks off Colonial Athletic Association play Saturday, January 3, at 1:00 PM against the Drexel Dragons. The game will be televised on Comcast, Channel 35.
VMI Head Coach Bart Bellairs
"Old Dominion is good enough to win the CAA. They are unselfish and a good team. ODU is a great program. Blaine (Taylor) has done a great job. He's a class act."
Old Dominion Head Coach Blaine Taylor
"We have a good chance to win every night as long as we do the right things. We are an unselfish, passionate group. When we step between the lines, we put our best effort out there."
Old Dominion Sophomore Guard Isaiah Hunter
"Our goal was to come out with a winning record. Our team is gelling. We should do fine in conference play as long as we play hard and keep doing what we're doing. It feels good to be a apart of a team that is coming together."