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Monarchs Regain Share of CAA Lead Saturday Night, With 85-74 Victory Over Delaware

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: February 14, 2004
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Feb. 14, 2004

Box Score

NORFOLK, VA -The Old Dominion men's basketball team, led by Isaiah Hunter's (Charlotte, NC) game-high 25 points, re-gained a share of the Colonial Athletic Association lead Saturday night, with a 85-74 win over the Delaware Fighting Blue Hens at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. With Virginia Commonwealth's 68-44 win over Towson and George Mason's 75-72 overtime win over Drexel, there is now a three-way tie for first place. In what turned out to be a very physical contest, there were a combined 55 fouls called, setting up a combined 49 points from the free throw line. The Monarchs improve to 15-8 for the season, and 10-4 in the CAA, while Delaware drops to 14-9 overall and 8-6 in the CAA.

ODU and Delaware were evenly matched in the first half, which saw nine ties and six lead changes. The Monarchs took the lead early off two Isaiah Hunter free throws, but Delaware's Raphael Madera's lay-up seconds later tied the game up for the first time. The game was still tied at the 17:38, at 4-4, when Madera made a lay-up and hit a free throw seconds later, to give the Fighting Blue Hens the 7-4 lead with 16:32 left in the half. The Blue Hens were still leading, 12-10, with 11:44 remaining in the half, when John Waller (Richmond, VA) made a lay-up to tie the game up at 12 with just under 11 minutes to play in the half. Hunter hit a jumper moments later to give the Monarchs a short-lived 14-12 lead. Delaware tied the game back up at 14, off a Robin Wentt dunk, but consecutive lay-ups by Alex Loughton (Perth, Australia) and Hunter gave ODU the four point lead, 18-14, with 9:08 remaining in the half. At the 8:31 mark, the Monarchs took their largest lead of the half-six-22-16, after Isaiah Hunter connected on a three pointer. Delaware cut the lead down to just two points, 25-23, with 5:53 left in the half and tied the game at 25 moments later, off a lay-up by Mike Ames. Valdas Vasylius (Klaipeda, Lithuania) made a free throw to give ODU the 26-25 lead, but Herb Courtney made a lay-up seconds later to give the Fighting Blue Hens the 27-26 lead, with 3:42 left in the half. By the 2:31 mark of the half, the game was tied for the sixth time at 28-28, and in the closing seconds of the half, the game was tied at 35-35, but John Waller hit a three-pointer with just four seconds left to give ODU the 38-35 halftime lead.

The Monarchs took over in the second half, extending their lead to 10 points, 47-37, with 15:54 left in the game. Vasylius scored two baskets in the early part of the half to lead ODU. Delaware came back, though, and cut the Monarch lead to four points at the 13:33 mark, 49-45. Off consecutive three-pointers by John Waller and Abdi Lidonde (Sutton, MA), the Monarchs were able to once again establish a 10-point lead, 55-45, with 12:55 remaining in the half. Once again, however, the Fighting Blue Hens cut the lead down, this time to five points, 55-50, with 11:38 remaining in the half. The Monarch lead hovered between five and seven points for the next several minutes, with the scoring coming from free throws, in what was a very physical game. ODU took their largest lead of the game-11-with 5:35 remaining in the half, after John Waller and Alex Loughton connected on back-to-back baskets. The closest Delaware could get the rest of the way was seven points, 67-60, at the 4:46 mark, as the Monarchs connected on an incredible 14 free throws down the stretch. The largest Monarch lead of the game came with just over a minute left in the contest, when ODU took a 79-63 lead, a edge of 16 points. The Monarchs left with an 85-74 victory Saturday night.

Isaiah Hunter's 25 points led the way for the Monarchs Saturday night. Hunter has now scored 25 or more points two times in the last three games. Alex Loughton added 21 points, John Waller had 13 and Valdas Vasylius contributed 11 in the Monarch effort. The Fighting Blue Hens had three double-figure scorers, with Harding Nana leading the way. Rulon Washington had 12 points and David Lunn had 11. For the game, there were a combined 55 fouls, leading to an incredible amount of foul shots during the game. The Monarchs connected on 72.2% of theirs (26-36), while Delaware shot 74.2% (23-31) from the charity stripe. From the field, the Blue Hens out-shot the Monarchs 43.1% (25-58) to 40.3% (27-67). ODU was also out-rebounded by a 45-39 margin, but committed 14 fewer turnovers (21-7). The seven turnovers for the Monarchs marks a season low.

The Monarchs play a couple of key CAA road games coming up, playing against the two teams they're currently tied with for the league lead: Drexel on Wednesday night and VCU on Saturday night. Both games are on the road and both tip-offs are at 7:00 PM.

QUOTES:

Old Dominion University

Head Coach Blaine Taylor: "We are starting to step it up a notch and really starting to play. I'm having a lot of fun this year. Delaware has been known to come back on teams and we definitely did not want it to come down to the last shot. We have to have a killer instinct. We have stayed with the next opponent, now we're on the road. We were not expected to be here and we think we deserve to be here. Now, we have to go for the goal."

On Sophomore Guard, Isaiah Hunter: "He is a lot stronger in the weight room, he's stronger on the boards, and he's stronger mentally."

Sophomore Forward, Alex Loughton: "We were able to maintain the lead and it was crucial for our win tonight."

On Game's Physicality: "It wasn't as physical a game as UNCW's. There was just a lot of calls; a lot of pushing and shoving."

Sophomore Guard, Isaiah Hunter: "I have been working on finishing and going to the hole strong. As a team, we are really excited to be here and we are going to go play our hearts and play for the win. Just like Coach (Taylor) said, we are going for the goal."

University of Delaware

Head Coach David Henderson: "This was a hard fought basketball game; ODU played a good basketball game tonight. Our turnovers really hurt us in the second half and Old Dominion capitalized off of it. We did a great job on the boards but we just got too many turnovers and you can't win any game like that. We are going to learn from this as we start thinking about how we can get up to the top. If we value the basketball, we can compete at the top and focus on as many wins as we can get."

Junior Guard, David Lunn: "I, as well as the team, were trying to take care of the ball and I am definitely shocked about how it turned out. We just needed to take better care of the ball."

On Next Game, UNCW: "Once we leave this building, we are going to start preparing for this game. We take the game that we played tonight and learn from it. We are ready to come out and play against UNCW."

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