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VCU Edges Monarchs 72-69

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: February 01, 2003
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Feb. 1, 2003

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NORFOLK, VA (February 1, 2003) - The Old Dominion men's basketball team fell short in a come from behind victory opportunity on Saturday night as they dropped a 72-69 decision to the visiting Rams of Virginia Commonwealth in front of 8,418 fans at the Ted Constant Convocation Center.

The Monarchs erased a late 12-point Ram lead to tie the game at 67-67 with 1:23 left. However, the Monarchs were unable to gain their own advantage and VCU's Willie Taylor hit a three pointer with :56 second remaining to put his squad up 70-67, a lead they would not relinquish. Senior forward Ricardo Marsh (Mebane, NC), who had a game-high 28 points, came back with a lay-up just 12 second later to bring ODU within one, 70-69. After a steal, Marsh broke down the lane but was called for an offensive foul with just three seconds left in the game. Taylor would then take a long pass on the in bounds play and slam it home to seal the three-point win for VCU. With eight tenths of a second ODU had one final chance but could not get a shot off as time ran out.

With the loss ODU falls to 6-4 in the conference with a 9-9 overall mark, while VCU also moves to 6-4 in the CAA, 10-8 for the season. There is now a five-way tie for second place in the CAA as ODU, VCU, Drexel, Delaware, and GMU all share 6-4 records. Virginia Commonwealth has now won six straight over their in-state rivals and tied the all-time series at 32 wins apiece.

Old Dominion found themselves ahead early after a lay-up by freshman guard Isaiah Hunter (Charlotte, NC), at 14:13, gave them a 10-4 lead. The advantage would be short lived, as VCU tied it at 14 all with a jumper by Dominic Jones with 12:26 left in the half. ODU would then go on a 13-2 run to build an 11-point lead, 27-16, with just under five minutes remaining. However, the Rams would bounce back with an 11-2 run of their own to close the first period trailing only 33-19.

Marsh had nine first half points as the Monarchs never trailed in the first 20 minutes. Jones led VCU with eight first period points.

The Rams would continue to roll when the teams started the final period as they erased a six-point ODU advantage and took their first lead of the contest 36-35, at 18:14, after a jumper by junior Dominic Jones. The squad battled back and forth as the Monarchs took their final lead of the night, 45-44, after two free throws by redshirt freshman T.J. Waldon (Lakeland, FL). The Rams then took control going on a 12-2 run to build a 58-47 advantage with just under 10 minutes on the clock. After six ODU free throws, an Alex Loughton (Perth, Australia) lay-up and a Rasheed Wright (Greensboro, NC) three pointer, the Ram lead dwindled to just one, 66-65, at 1:52. The teams exchanged free throws before Wright nailed the tying jumper.

Despite the loss, ODU held a 42-38 rebounding edge and only committed nine turnovers, while forcing 17 Ram turnovers. After shooting just 2-8 (25 percent) from the three-point line in the first half, Virginia Commonwealth hit 6-9 (67 percent) in the second period. They also went from shooting 33 percent (10-30) in the first to making 15-27 (56 percent) through the final 20 minutes.

Wright was the only other Monarch to score in double figures with 11 points and six boards. Jones and Troy Godwin just missed double-doubles for Virginia Commonwealth. Jones finished with 19 points and nine boards while Godwin dropped in nine points and collected 10 boards. Sophomore forward Michael Doles had 14 points on 4-6 (67 percent) shooting from beyond the arc.

The Monarchs hit the road next week. Old Dominion will travel to William and Mary on Wednesday, February 5th and James Madison on Saturday, February 8th. Both games will tip-off at 7:00 p.m.

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