ODU men’s hoops drops season opener at Northern Iowa, 58-53

Jason Wade dunk (Courtesy: ODUSports.com)

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (ODU Athletics) – In the 2019-20 season opener, the Old Dominion men’s basketball team (0-1) fell to Northern Iowa (1-0) by a 58-53 score on Tuesday night at the McLeod Center. The Monarchs were led by Jason Wade (five rebounds and six steals) and Xavier Green (eight rebounds and two assists), who each scored 14 points.

The Panthers claimed an eleven-point lead, 41-30, at the 12:54 mark of the second half. A Green jumper, followed by a deep Wade three-pointer pulled the Monarchs within six, 41-35, with 11:40 left in the second half. UNI extended its lead back to 10, before a 6-1 ODU run pulled the Monarchs within five, 48-43, with 6:37 to play.

A fadeaway from Green got Old Dominion within four, 51-47, at the 3:20 mark of the second half. 70 seconds later, a Marquis Godwin three-pointer had ODU within two, 53-51. After three made UNI free-throws, a Malik Curry layup with 53.5 seconds to play made it a 56-53 ODU deficit, but the Monarchs would not get any closer as the Panthers sealed the deal with two more free-throws.

“UNI was really good and well-coached defensively,” said ODU head coach Jeff Jones. “We did not help ourselves by the amount of free-throws and layups we missed. This will be a great learning experience for us, we can be a better team because of this game.”

Also in double-figures for ODU was Kalu Ezikpe, who went for 10 points to compliment three rebounds. Old Dominion’s bench outscored Northern Iowa’s 25-11. The Monarchs had 12 of the game’s sixteen steals.

Jason Wade (Courtesy: ODUSports.com)

For the game, ODU held UNI to 35.6% (21-59) shooting from the floor and 25.0% (3-12) shooting from deep.

In a first half that Old Dominion trailed by as many as six, ODU trimmed its deficit to one at halftime. Seven Monarchs scored in the opening 20 minutes, led by Wade’s six points to go along with four steals. Kalu Ezikpe followed with five points, while Green (four rebounds) and Dickens (six rebounds) each chipped in four points respectively. ODU’s defense held the Panthers to 11.8% (2-17) shooting from three-point range in the first half.

Old Dominion will return to the hardwood for its home opener on Sunday, Nov. 10, when the Monarchs welcome Saint Joseph’s to Chartway Arena for a 2:00 p.m. ET tip. Sunday afternoon’s game will stream on C-USA TV.

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