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Big First Half Run Leads Men's Basketball Over Marshall 79-64


NORFOLK, Va. – On the strength of a 24-5 run over a nearly seven-and-a-half-minute span of the first half, the Old Dominion men's basketball team defeated Marshall 79-64 on Thursday night inside Chartway Arena.
"We got off on a great run tonight with a bunch of the guys coming out ready to go," said ODU Head Coach Jeff Jones.  "Mekhi Long might not have had the points, but had four steals, a bunch of rebounds and deflections to aid in transition.   He was very instrumental in our first half."
ODU (9-12, 4-4) jumped out to an early 11-7 advantage after a 3-pointer by C.J. Keyser with 15:52 left.  The Thundering Herd chipped back and evened the game at 11-all after a layup by Goran Miladinovic with 15:02 left.
The Monarchs proceeded to score the next 19 points as a Jaylin Hunter jumper started the run at the 14:06 mark.  Charles Smith IV drained a 3-pointer and Kalu Ezikpe scored the next four points as ODU was up 20-11 with 13 minutes left in the half.  Smith hit a short jumper at the 10:09 mark to cap the 19 straight points for a 30-11 ODU lead.
That run grew to a 24-5 stretch on the heels of Long stealing a defensive rebound and after a scramble, Austin Trice found A.J. Oliver II for a 3-pointer at the top of the key to take the advantage to 35-16 with 7:48 left. 
"It continues to impress me how Mekhi might not have the impact scoring, but it doesn't stop him in other aspects," said Jones. 
"If my shot isn't falling, we have C.J. (Keyser), Kalu (Ezikpe) and Austin (Trice) going so I feed off their energy on the defensive side," Long added.
In the second half, the advantage grew to as much as 24 points as Ezikpe converted on a three-point play with 8:20 left to give ODU a 69-45 lead.
Keyser was the leading scorer with 19 points, while Ezikpe added 18.  Trice had his sixth double-double of the season with 17 points, 18 rebounds and tied a career high with four assists.  Long was just behind him in rebounds equaling his career high with 13 and in steals with four to go with five points.   Hunter dished out a career high nine assists while adding seven points.
The Monarchs will now turn right around to tangle with the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers on Saturday night at 7 pm.