ODU moves to 2-0 in conference play after 55-48 win over North Texas

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Ahmad Caver led the way with 14 points for Old Dominion. (Photo by: Rick Voight)

Ahmad Caver led the way with 14 points for Old Dominion. (Photo by: Rick Voight)

NORFOLK, Va. - The Old Dominion men’s basketball team (9-5, 2-0 C-USA) kicked-off 2017 with a 55-48 win over North Texas (6-8, 0-2 C-USA) on Monday night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center to improve to 2-0 in Conference USA play. In a game that the Monarchs never trailed, they held a lead for 39:18 of the possible 40 minutes.

With 4:02 to play in the second half, the Mean Green pulled within one, 40-39. A Brandan Stith blocked shot led to a made Jordan Baker three, before Denzell Taylor dunked one home to cap off a 6-0 run to give ODU a 46-39 lead with 2:21 to play, before ultimately claiming a seven point victory on Monday night at the Ted.

“It is hard to believe we can win a conference game while shooting 28% from the floor,” said ODU head coach Jeff Jones. “When you only shoot 28% from the floor, you better make sure you are doing something else right and I thought we did a lot of other things right tonight.”

The Monarchs were led by Ahmad Caver’s 14 points (6-6 FT), six assists (one turnover), five rebounds, and three steals. Also in double-figures was Zoran Talley who went for 11 points and five rebounds off the bench for ODU. B.J. Stith (eight rebounds and two assists) and Jordan Baker each chipped in eight points. Brandan Stith finished the contest with six points, 10 rebounds (seven offensive), three assists, three blocks and two steals.

For the contest, Old Dominion held advantages for fast-break points (15-0), rebounds (46-36), second-chance points (16-7), points in the paint (23-16) and points off turnovers. ODU’s 15 fast-break points marks a season high.

The ODU defense held North Texas without a made field goal for the opening 12:32 of the first half, as the Monarchs jumped out to a 15-3 lead. Old Dominion held the Mean Green to 17 first half points, as the Monarchs led by six, 23-17, behind six points from Ahmad Caver and Zoran Talley each, respectively.

“We are a tired group right now after playing three games in five days,” Jones said. “Our coaches just kept telling our players to keep fighting and I thought we did that tonight.”

The Monarchs are off until January 5th when they travel to Huntington, West Virginia to face Marshall.