Monarchs Cruise to Second Straight Victory, Defeating Towson 88-62
By ODU Athletics
Jan. 31, 2004
NORFOLK, VA - The Old Dominion men's basketball team won their second straight game Saturday night, and second victory over Towson in a week, defeating the Tigers, 88-62, at the Ted Constant Convocation Center, in front of 7,078, their largest crowd of the year. John Waller led all Monarch scoring with 21 points, off eight of 17 shooting. The 26-point victory is the largest of the season for the Monarchs, whose previous high was 21 points over Liberty, James Madison and Towson a week ago. ODU improves to 12-7 for the season and 7-3 in Colonial Athletic Association action, while Towson drops to 6-13 and 3-7 in the CAA. The 12 wins for ODU matches the season total of wins the Monarchs had last season. The 7-3 CAA record for ODU marks their best conference start since going 8-2 to kick off the 1998-99 CAA season. That team finished the CAA 10-6 , had an overall record of 25-9, was a finalist in the CAA Tournament and made an appearance in the NIT-their last post-season appearance.
Alex Loughton (Perth, Australia) led the early charge for the Monarchs in the first half, scoring the team's first eight points, as ODU built up a 8-6 lead by the 16:26 mark of the half. Mike Green of Towson, however, gave the Tigers the lead-9-8-after he connected on a three-pointer. Abdi Lidonde (Sutton, MA) got a lay-up to give ODU the lead, 10-9, with 15:21 remaining in the half, but two straight three-pointers by the Tigers-one by Andrius Petkunas and another by Mike Green-put Towson up by five points, 15-10, with 13:43 left in the half. Isaiah Hunter (Charlotte, NC) hit a jumper to close the gap to three points, but Mike Green answered back with a jumper of his own to once again give Towson the five point, 17-12 lead, at the 12:08 mark. ODU responded, however, by scoring the next nine points of the game, led by Isaiah Hunter's three-pointer and dunk, to take the 21-17 lead, with 10:02 left in the half. Andrius Petkunas ended the Monarch run with a two-pointer to make the score 21-19, at the 9:04 mark, but a 7-0 ODU run gave the Monarchs the 28-19 lead. John Waller (Richmond, VA) had a jumper and a three-pointer in the run for the Monarchs. By the 4:34 mark of the half, ODU took a 14-point lead, off a Valdas Vasylius (Klaipeda, Lithuania) lay-up-37-23-and extended the lead to 16 points, 39-23, off two free throws by T.J. Waldon (Lakeland, FL), at the 3:17 mark of the half. With just over a minute remaining in the half, the Monarchs held a 16-point lead, 41-25, but the Tigers scored four points-a jumper by Winstonn Tubbs and two free throws by Mike Green-to cut the Monarch lead to 41-29. John Waller made a lay-up in the closing seconds of the half, with ODU going into halftime holding a 43-29 lead.
Andrius Petkunas made a lay-up in the opening seconds of the second half, to bring Towson to within 12 points, 43-31, of ODU, but Arnaud Dahi (Ivory Coast, Africa) made a lay-up of his own to increase the Monarchs lead back up to 14 points, 45-31, at the 19:20 mark of the half. By the 17:27 mark of the half, the Monarchs were able to take their largest lead of the game to that point-18 points-grabbing a 51-33 lead, off a John Waller lay-up. After a lay-up by Towson's Jonathan Pease cut the lead down to 16 points, 51-35, it was Waller again who hit two consecutive three-pointers to give ODU a 22-point lead, 57-35, with 15:33 left in the half. At the 11:24 mark of the half, ODU grabbed a 30-point lead, 69-39, off a lay-up by Valdas Vasylius. Two free throws by Towson's Holden Plack cut the lead to 28 points, 69-41, but the Monarchs were able to re-take the 30 point lead after Arnaud Dahi hit a lay-up. By the 5:26 mark of the half, ODU still held a 30-point, 82-52, lead, and a Dahi free throw gave ODU their largest lead of the night-31 points-taking the 83-52 lead. Towson was able to cut the lead down to 26 points, 83-57, by the 3:46 mark after Andrius Petkunas scored two consecutive baskets, and further cut the lead down to 23 points, 85-62, with 1:45 left in the game. Kiah Thomas (Norfolk, VA) hit a three-pointer in the final minute of the game to give ODU the 26-point lead that would become their 26-point victory, 88-62.
The Monarchs shot over 53.1% (34-64) from the field for the game, while Towson shot only 33.3% (21-63). ODU also shot 41.7% (10-24) from three-point range Saturday night, while the Tigers shot 26.7% (4-15). ODU out-rebounded Towson by a 42-35 margin and also held a +4 turnover margin (16-12). John Waller led all Monarch scorers with 21 points. Isaiah Hunter had 16 and Arnaud Dahi (Ivory Coast, Africa) added 12 points. Alex Loughton, after scoring the first eight points of the game for the Monarchs, didn't have a basket the rest of the way. Troy Nance (Virginia Beach, VA) had a game-high seven assists and had no turnovers. Mike Green of Towson was the game-high scorer, with 23 points, off 6 of 18 shooting. Towson's Jamaal Gilchrist had four points in the game, and now has 1,000 points for his career.
Troy Nance handed out seven assists tonight to give him 425 for his career and Pass Rick Nau ('73) for tenth spot on the ODU all-time list.
ODU returns to action Wednesday night, taking on the UNC-Wilmington Seahawks on the road. Tip-off is at 7:00 PM and can be seen locally on Cox Cable, Channel 71.
Post Game Quotes:
Old Dominion University
Head Coach, Blaine Taylor: "Real steady repetition of our team and our program. A lot of kids played well and they played as a team tonight. We completely took control of the game. Tonight was a nice circumstance. Some of the younger players got more minutes and hopefully that developed some confidence."
"I was worried about this game. They (Towson) have recruited some great players and have beaten good teams in this league."
"I look at stats. I want to keep them in a low scoring percentage, they shot 33%; I want our kids to out-rebound them, we did by seven; I want them to share the ball, we got 21 assists. Troy (Nance) led the way with seven and John (Waller) followed with five and both had no turnovers. John has been strong to the basket and has really progressed. Our kids were unselfish and we had good team characteristics. It started with defense."
On the crowd: "Our following is growing. Hats off to our fans and our kids. The program is really strong and the people we have are more tuned into when you play and not who you play."
Senior Forward, John Waller: "We passed the ball really well tonight and played as a team. It's exciting to see our fan base building."
Sophomore Guard, Isaiah Hunter: "The court opened up for me tonight. Coach had been working with me during practice on handling the ball. We needed this win. Tonight was a confidence builder and we will continue to build that confidence throughout the rest of the season."
Head Coach, Michael Hunt: "They (ODU) have good inside/outside balance. Alex Loughton is the possible MVP player of the league, in my opinion. The seniors are real good leaders and the underclassmen step up. With our team, if we score a lot earlier, we start to do other things well: defense, box out, rebound. We never really did that tonight. Our young kids competed. The problem with our basketball team is that our older kids are just not consistent. Our team is young and we need more consistent minutes from our players with the most experience."