ODU edges out Rice 62-56 in Conference USA opener

NORFOLK, Va. - B.J. Stith poured in a career-high 18 points to lead the Old Dominion men’s basketball team (8-5, 1-0 C-USA) over Rice (10-4, 0-1 C-USA) by a 62-56 score on Saturday afternoon at the Ted Constant Convocation Center for the Conference USA opener. The Monarchs shot a season-high 51.0% (26-51) from the floor.

Trailing 40-34 with 15:34 to play, Old Dominion used a 6-0 run to tie the contest at 40-40 with 13:00 to play. An Ahmad Caver three-pointer then dunk gave ODU a 51-47 advantage at the 7:58 mark.

B.J. Stith scored three the old fashion way to give the Monarchs a 54-51 lead with 6:07 showing on the game-clock. Jordan Baker then drilled a three to extend ODU’s lead to 59-53 with 3:49 to play, before the Monarchs ultimately claimed a six-point victory on New Year’s Eve.

“It is a lot different feeling in that locker room compared to after Thursday night’s game,” said ODU head coach Jeff Jones. “We responded exactly like I hoped. We didn’t play a great game, but we played tough as heck. To come away with a win in the C-USA opener is very nice.”

Also in double-figures for Old Dominion was Zoran Talley, who tallied 12 points (6-8 FG), two rebounds, two assists and two steals in 19 minutes of work. Brandan Stith narrowly missed out on his fifth double-double of the season, as he went for nine points, 10 rebounds, four blocks and three assists. Ahmad Caver scored nine points to compliment four rebounds, four assists and three steals. Denzell Taylor chipped in seven points and five rebounds in the winning effort.

The Owls took a 31-30 advantage with them into the locker rooms at halftime. B.J. Stith led the way for ODU in the opening half with 10 points. Old Dominion connected on 54.2% (13-24) from the floor in the first half. The Monarchs led for 17:37 of the possible 20 minutes.

For the game, Egor Koulechov led the Owls with 14 points and nine rebounds. The game experienced a total of five ties and two lead changes.