FRISCO, Texas – The Old Dominion men’s basketball team (25-7) fell to Western Kentucky (24-9) by a 57-49 score in the Semifinals of the 2018 Conference USA Tournament on Friday afternoon at The Ford Center at The Star. ODU’s defense held WKU’s offense 22 points under its season average (79.4 ppg).
After trailing by nine at the half, the Monarchs roared back with a 19-9 run to take a 41-40 lead at the 9:26 mark of the second half, but the Hilltoppers would close the contest outscoring ODU 17-8.
“It’s always tough to lose,” said ODU head coach Jeff Jones. “I don’t think we could’ve played any harder, but against a team like Western Kentucky, you’ve got to play better. As hard as we battled, we failed to put the ball in the basket. I think that’s the simplest explanation. Neither team shot the ball well particularly well from the field. In the second half, I thought we did a better job of getting it inside and not settling, but ultimately our problems at the free-throw line cost us. Defensively, we did some of the things we talked about coming in, but also some of the things we hadn’t done a very good job of the previous two games [against WKU]. I felt there were some ball-screen situations, in particular with Darius Thomson and Lamonte Bearden, in the first two games that really hurt us getting into the lane and they weren’t able to with the extent they did before.”
Trey Porter led the way for the Monarchs with 17 points to go along with three rebounds. Brandan Stith recorded a double-double, going for 10 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks. Ahmad Caver finished with 10 points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals. Randy Haynes chipped in five points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals.
For the contest, ODU held advantages for points in the paint (30-24), points off turnovers (16-11), second chance points (11-6) and blocked shots (6-2). The game experienced four ties and four lead changes.
WKU ended the first half on a 20-6 run to claim a 31-22 lead at halftime. Trey Porter led the way for the Monarchs, scoring eight points in just 11 minutes of work (2 fouls). ODU's defense held the Hilltoppers to 14% (1-7) shooting from three-point range.