GREENVILLE, NC—ODU (7-9/1-0) sophomore guards and co-captains Keenan Palmore and Aaron Bacote combined for 41 points to lead the Monarchs to a 81-70 victory over East Carolina(11-5/0-1) Saturday night in Minges Coliseum. The victory was the Monarchs first ever win in Conference USA. ODU has now defeated ECU five straight and seven of last eight meetings.
Keenan Palmore scored a game high 23 points, one point shy of his career high while Bacote scored 18 and red-shirt junior Dimitri Batten added 12. Bacote also dished out six assists.
The two teams battled to a 37-37 tie at halftime as Palmore chipped in 17 points on 8-of-9 shots from the field. ECU was led by Paris Campbell with 19 points, while C-USA’s leading scorerAkeem Richmond was held scoreless. In all, there were 10 ties during the first half as ODU shot .517 (15-29) from the floor to the Pirates .458 (11-24).
In the first half, Palmore scored eight of ODU's first 12 points,then eight of its final 11 to close the half.
In the second half, Dimitri Batten scored the first bucket to put ODU up 39-37, followed by a basket from Palmore and the Monarchs were never tied or trailed again.
ECU cut the ODU lead to one, 45-44 at the 16:55 mark on a Richmond layup, but Bacote hit two free throws, then after a steal, Batten scored to put the Monarchs back up five, 49-44 with 15:26 left.
The Pirates would cut the lead to one at 51-50 with14:16 left on a Richmond three-pointer, but Bacote would go on a 8-0 run with two three-point plays and two free throws to give ODU a 59-50 lead with 12:14 remaining. ECU would get no closer than seven (67-60) with 6:43 left.
ODU shot a season best .564 (31-55) from the field while ECU was .400 (22-55), and ODU hit .778 (14-18) from the free throw line. ODU outrebounded the Pirates, 36-29 which is the 11th time in the last 13 games they have outrebounded an opponent. Monarch freshman forward Denzel Taylor and red-shirt junior forward Richard Ross both hauled down six rebounds. Ross, who ranks second in C-USA in blocked shots, swatted three more tonight.
ECU had four players in double figures. Joining Campbell, Akeem Richmond scored 14, Petar torlak 12, andMichael Zangari added 11.
The Monarchs return to action next Thursday in the Miami area at Florida International, then to Florida Atlantic on Saturday.