NORFOLK, VA—Old Dominion had four players in double figures led by sophomore Aaron Bacote’s 20 points to defeat George Mason Saturday night, 71-66 in front of 7,511 in the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Bacote hit three-of-four free throws in the final four seconds to help win the game.
ODU, now in Conference USA improves to 6-9 while Mason now in the Atlantic 10 drops to 7-7 as this was the final non-conference game for both. Joining Bacote in double figures were Dimitri Batten with 13 and Richard Ross and Keenan Palmore with 12 each.
The Monarchs took a 40-29 lead into halftime on .560 (14-25) shooting from the field and 10-for-11 shooting from the free throw line. Palmmore led with nine points, followed by eight from Bacote and seven from Ross. The Patriots were shooting .370 (10-27) from the field and had six turnovers which led to 12 Monarch points.
In the second half, the Monarchs led by as many as 13, 51-38 with 14:28 remaining after two Richared Ross free throws. Mason rallied and got to within two at 66-64 with eight seconds left after two Byron Allen free throws and 68-66 with five seconds left again after two Allen free throws.
Aaron Bacote hit one of two free throws with four seconds left and after a mason turnover, bacote hit two more to seal the victory, ending ODU’s two-game losing streak and its five-game losing streak to the Patriots which dated back to the 2010-11 season.
The Monarchs didn’t score a bucket the last 8:14 of the game, and only six field goals for the entire second half, but hit 18-of-35 free throws in the final half. Both teams made more free throws than field goals for the game. Mason was 24-of-32 for the game and ODU was 28-of-46.
The 28 free throws made is one shy of the ODU Constant Center mark of 29 made against VMI in Dec. 2011. The 46 free throws attempted by the Monarchs tied the mark in that same VMI contest. The opponent Constant center free throw mark is 41-50 set last year by Delaware.
ODU finished the night shooting .444 (20-45) from the floor, while mason was .392 (20-51). The Patriots outrebounded ODU, 38-33. Johnny Williams led Mason with a game high 10 rebounds, while freshman Denzell Taylor and redshirt junior forward Richard Ross led ODU with seven rebounds each.
Palmore led with three steals for ODU, while Bacote dished out four assists and Richard Ross blocked another two shots.
Sherrod Wright led the Patriots with 25 points, including 14-for-18 from the free throw line, followed by Byron Allen with 18 points and four assists and Patrick Holloway scored 10.
ODU opens its first season in conference USA play next Saturday at East Carolina.