Monarchs Improve to 4-4, Defeating George Washington 72-62
By ODU Athletics
Dec. 20, 2003
NORFOLK, VA - Senior John Waller's (Richmond, VA) 23 points (and five three-pointers) helped lead the Old Dominion men's basketball team to their second consecutive victory Saturday night, defeating the George Washington Colonials 72-62 at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Sophomore Alex Loughton (Perth, Australia) had another double-double for the Monarchs, with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Junior Kiah Thomas (Norfolk, VA) scored his first points of the year for Monarchs, ending up with 12 off four three-pointers. ODU improves to 4-4-the first time ODU has been .500 this season-while the Colonials drop to 6-3 for the year.
The Monarchs were ice-cold to start the game off as George Washington used a pressing defense, trailing 9-0 by the 16:36 mark and down 14-1 with 14:43 remaining in the half. A three-pointer by John Waller ended the Colonials' run, cutting the deficit to 10 points, 14-4, with 14:06 remaining in the half. By the 12:33 mark, ODU trailed by nine points, 18-9, and cut the deficit to seven points, 18-11, at the 12 minute mark of the half. Trailing by 10, 26-16, with 8:02 left in the half, the Monarchs went on a 7-0 run, led by Alex Loughton's three points, to cut the George Washington lead to just three points, 26-23, with 4:44 left in the half. Pops Mensah-Bonsu put the Colonials back up by five points, 28-23, with a layup, but ODU cut the lead back down to just two points, 29-27 at the 2:18 mark, and tied the game for the first time 32-32, at the 1:08 mark, off a Waller three-pointer. Two Alex Loughton free throws put ODU up for the first time in the game 34-32 with 27 seconds remaining in the half, but a Lafonte Johnson three-pointer put the Colonials back in the lead 35-34, heading into the half. Loughton had 14 points and seven rebounds in the first half.
Waller gave the Monarchs the lead back, 37-35, with a three-pointer to start off the second half scoring. With the Colonials holding a slim 40-39 edge at the 17:03 mark, John Waller hit another three to give ODU a 42-40 lead with 16:50 remaining in the half. The Colonials tied the contest up once more at 42 twenty seconds later, but were unable to grab the lead for the rest of the game. With the Monarchs leading 49-48 at the 13:54 mark, ODU rolled off a 8-2 run to grab a seven point lead, 55-48, with 11:52 remaining in the half. The Monarchs took a nine point lead, 59-50, by the 9:19 mark of the half, but the Colonials came back to within four points, 61-57, at the six minute mark, and again, 66-62, at the 3:38 mark, but ODU used a 6-0 run to finish the game, ending up with the 72-62 victory.
John Waller led all scorers with 23 points, off 9 of 15 shooting. Alex Loughton had 20 points and grabbed 11 points for yet another double-double, while Kiah Thomas scored 12 points and Isaiah Hunter added 10. Pops Mensah-Bonsu led George Washington scorers with 17, followed by Ricky Lucas' 15 and Omar Williams' 11. The Monarchs shot 48.9% from the field (22 of 45), while the Colonials shot 40.4% (23 of 57). ODU committed also five fewer turnovers (22-17) for the game.
There were a couple of firsts in the contest. Sophomore Isaiah Hunter (Charlotte, NC) missed his first two free throws of the season, and no longer leads the nation in free throw percentage. Kiah Thomas also scored his first points of the season, ending up with 12, off four three-pointers. The Monarchs will take a holiday break and return to action at home Monday, December 29, taking on VMI. Tip-off is at 7:00 PM.
Old Dominion head coach Blaine Taylor
"We've enjoyed being here and where our program is. Other people could have gave up and they decided to stay here and fight. I cannot be more proud and they deserve a nice holiday break."
On Kiah Thomas "I though Kiah really blended himself with the team in a mature way. He hasn't forced a shot in two games. He was ready. His teammates were thrilled to have him back. He gave us an offensive push. He'll make John Waller be a fresher player. His role will be wherever he is needed."
"They (George Washington) have great speed and quickness. At the half, we thought we turned the ball over a lot, but I told the team we didn't, we were in the game."
Old Dominion senior John Waller
"We adjusted and we did a good job adjusting to the pressure. We did a good job with the pressure, we studied that at practice and we did the right things tonight. We stuck with George Washington and everyone stayed focused. With the addition of Kiah (Thomas), it gives me a breather and with our connection, we communication about things going on the court."
Old Dominion junior Kiah Thomas
"Coach Taylor always told me that I should just be patient and let the game come to me. It's just basketball, that one of the things he always told me. We just need to keep doing what we are doing and be ready to help the team. Whenever your number is called, be ready to help your team as much as possible."
George Washington head coach Carl Hobbs "When you look at our team, we had 22 turnovers. We lost to a better basketball team tonight. We lost to a team that had more pride. We lost to a team that had more determination. They played like this was a championship game and I admire them for that. We have a young team and we are learning how to play like that."