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ODU Rallies to Defeat William & Mary, 74-59, Breaking a 5-Game Losing Streak in Williamsburg


D'Angelo Stines

By Harry Minium

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – The Old Dominion men's basketball team heads into its biggest non-conference game of the season Saturday on a two-game winning streak.

The Monarchs broke open what had been a close game late in the second half and rolled past William & Mary, 74-59, Tuesday, to claim its second road victory in a row and third win in its last four games.

The Monarchs (5-5) host VCU Saturday night at Chartway Arena in the renewal of a long-time rivalry between the two former CAA rivals that are located just 90 miles apart. Some tickets remain for a game that generally sells out.

Coach Jeff Jones was dissatisfied with how his team played Tuesday, especially in the first half, when the Tribe erased a 10-point ODU lead and led by three at the half.

"Other than winning the game, there's not a whole lot that I was pleased with," said Jones, who is recovering from a bout of pneumonia.

ODU was coming off a 60-50 victory at George Mason this past weekend in which Jones said defensively, the Monarchs could not have played any better.

"I told the guys yesterday that tonight's game was a really huge game," he said, adding that the message did not get through.

"Fortunately, we played like it was a big game just long enough to win."

ODU nonetheless broke one of its most frustrating losing streaks, winning for the first time in a decade at Kaplan Arena.  Although ODU leads the series with W&M, 70-22, the Monarchs had lost five in a row in Williamsburg.

The Monarchs had last won, 70-51, in 2011-2012.

Some of those losses came in heartbreaking fashion, including a 79-77 defeat in 2017 on a 50-foot shot by Oliver Tot at the buzzer.

ODU made sure that did not happen with a red-hot second-half shooting performance, making 17 of 25 shots (68 percent).

Freshman D'Angelo Stines gave ODU a big lift off the bench, making 3-of-4 three-point shots and scoring 13. It was his first game in double figures.

Although the Tribe lost eight of their first nine games, mostly in blowout fashion, and were making just 28 percent from behind the arc, they made eight of their first 14 three-pointers.

ODU led 25-15 but then the Tribe made all four of their final 3-point shots of the half. Tyler Rice's fallaway three-pointer with 25 seconds left gave the Tribe a 32-29 halftime lead.

The Tribe cooled off in a second half that opened with nine lead changes. ODU led, 54-50, with seven minutes left before finally pulling away.

Kalu Ezikpe made two foul shots, Stines a three-pointer, point guard Jaylin Hunter a steal and a layup and Austin Trice a hook shot to give the Monarchs a 63-51 advantage with 5:13 left.

ODU blew it open in the final seconds, as Ezikpe dunked and Hunter picked off a pass and scored on a breakaway layup in the final minute.

Ezipke led ODU with 18 points, eight rebounds, four steals and three assists. Hunter had 16 points, seven steals and seven assists.

Mekhi Long had 11 points and C.J. Keyser 10 after a scoreless first half.

Jones said Stines' play off the bench was timely given the absence of shooting guard Charles Smith IV, who has been sidelined for several games with a viral infection.

"He stepped up and made some big shots," Jones said. "He gave us a lift."

Stines, who played last season at Mount St. Joseph High in Baltimore, said he had not played well enough in Smith's absence.

"With Charles out, they needed more from me," he said. "I've been in the gym a lot, working on my shot.

I feel good that I was able to contribute tonight."

He agreed with Jones the Monarchs did not play with enough intensity.

"We've got to play better" to beat VCU, he said.