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Despite Strong Second Half Effort ODU Falls to Missouri, 66-61

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: November 27, 2009
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Nov. 27, 2009

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SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas - The Old Dominion men's basketball team controlled play for much of the second half and senior guard Marsharee Neely tallied a career-high tying 20 points, but the Missouri Tigers held on to a 15-point second half lead in a 66-61 victory over the Monarchs in the semifinals of the South Padre Island Invitational Friday evening.

ODU (4-1) will now face Mississippi State Saturday at 5:30 p.m. eastern time. The Bulldogs, which were ranked in the Top 20 of both major preseason polls, fell to Richmond 63-62 in the other semifinal.

Neely's game-high 20 points came on 6-of-10 shooting, including a career-high tying four three-point field goals. Classmate Gerald Lee added 13 points and junior Ben Finney was also in double-figures with 12 points.

Missouri (4-0) was led by senior guard J.T. Tiller's 12 points and seven assists. Kim English added 11 points for the Tigers.

The Monarchs trailed by 14 points at the break (32-18) in large part to Missouri's pressure defense. ODU uncharacteristically turned the ball over 17 times in the opening stanza and shot 26.3 percent from the field.

Old Dominion hit only five field goals in the first half and Neely was responsible for three.

ODU led 9-8 nine minutes into the game, but the Tigers held the Monarchs without a field goal for the next nine minutes. Neely's second three-point field goal of the first half broke ODU's dry spell with just under two minutes remaining in the first period.

Trailing by 15 (47-32) with under 12 minutes remaining in the contest, ODU reeled off eight straight points during a 13-2 run, cutting the Tigers lead to four. Lee tallied seven points during the Monarch run.

Old Dominion then got a defensive stop and three shots during its next possession, but none fell and Missouri would score the next seven points to build a lead that the Monarchs could not overcome.

The Monarchs shot 60.9 percent from the field in the second half and held the Tigers to 33.3 percent shooting. ODU also out-rebounded Missouri 35-30 in the contest.

Mississippi State and Old Dominion have have played four times, with each team winning twice. The squads have not met since the 1997-98 season.

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