|Monarchs Win In Battle Of Old CAA Foes|
WILMINGTON, North Carolina – Freshman guard Jordan Baker keyed a second-half surge with eight of his 10 points down the stretch as Old Dominion tripped up UNCW, 69-57, in a pre-Christmas holiday men’s basketball tilt Saturday at Trask Coliseum.
The Monarchs snapped a six-game losing streak to move to 5-7 on the season and won their first road game in three tries. The Seahawks dropped their second in a row and stand 6-7 heading into the holiday break.
“I didn’t see this one coming,” said fourth-year UNCW Head Coach Buzz Peterson. “It was a very frustrating loss. You have to give Old Dominion credit. They packed it in on Cedrick (Williams) and we’re going to have to make some outside shots…that’s the bottom line.
“We had some opportunities and missing some free throws hurt us. We discussed all week about focusing today. Old Dominion didn’t hang their heads, they kept competing and fighting and they came out with a win.”
Baker, from Hampton, Va., was one of three ODU players in double figures. Junior forward Richard Ross led the way with 17 points and 10 rebounds and sophomore guard Keenan Palmore added 16 points, four rebounds and two assists.
Junior forward Cedrick Williams paced UNCW in scoring for the eight time with 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Sophomore forward Luke Hager contributed a career-high 10 points with four boards.
In a matchup of two old Colonial Athletic Association rivals, ODU forged out to a 24-22 lead at halftime, survived an 11-point rally by the host Seahawks and held on for their eighth win in nine outings against UNCW.
The Monarchs, now a member of Conference USA, extended their halftime margin to 32-24 on a nifty Palmore layup at 18:23 before the Seahawks answered with 11 consecutive points for a 35-32 advantage. Hager had six points and Jackson scored five in the rally, capped by Jackson’s floater in the paint with 13:06 remaining.
With the score tied at 37-all, the Monarchs used a 9-2 spurt to gain some much-needed separation and Palmore’s steal and dunk at 7:51 staked ODU to a 48-39 cushion. The Monarchs increased the lead to 57-46 on another layup by Palmore with 3:04 left to play and registered their largest lead of the game, 67-51, when Batten sank a pair of free throws with 48 seconds to go in the game.
Both teams came out ice cold in the opening minutes of the contest, combining for just 1-of-10 field goals in the first four minutes of the game.
The Seahawks missed their first six field goal attempts and finally got on the scoreboard with 15:39 left in the first period when Williams sank a pair of free throws.
A layup by senior forward Shane Reybold gave the Seahawks a 15-12 edge at 6:45, but ODU reeled off six straight points and Dimitri Batten’s layup put the Monarchs on top, 18-15, at 5:30. Baker later connected from close range with 44 seconds on the clock to give the Monarchs a four-point edge, 24-22, at intermission.
There were six lead changes in the first 20 minutes and neither team led by more than four points. The two teams went 0-for-7 behind the arc and committed 11 turnovers in the early going.
The Seahawks now break for the Christmas holiday and play again on Saturday, Dec. 28, with a 4:30 p.m. matchup at UNC Asheville. The Monarchs also return to action on Dec. 28, traveling to Richmond for a 6:30 p.m. tip with the Spiders.
GAME NOTES: ODU became the third opponent to shoot 50 percent against the Seahawks when the Monarchs went 28-of-56 from the floor…UNCW did not make a three-pointer for the second time this season (0-for-8 at Marshall on Nov. 23)…ODU scored 44 points in the paint…UNCW’s three starting guards went 1-for-11 from the field…The Monarchs made 10-of-19 (.526) and the Seahawks made15-of-24 (.625) at the free throw line…UNCW’s bench outscored its counterparts, 34-9…Both teams had 11 turnovers in the contest.