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ODU Men's Basketball Falls to No. 18 JMU, but Sets a Chartway Arena Attendance Record

Bruce Butler

ODU drew a record 8,504 fans to Chartway Arena for a White Out game against JMU

By Harry Minium
NORFOLK, Va. – Old Dominion drew the largest crowd to Chartway Arena Saturday night since the facility opened 21 years ago. Alas, otherwise, it was not a good night for the home team.
No. 18 James Madison got the hot hand early and remained unbeaten by rolling past the Monarchs, 84-69.
The sellout crowd of 8,504 was the largest for a basketball game since the arena opened in 2002. The demand for tickets was so robust that secondary ticket distributors were selling tickets with a $30 face value for as much as $65 early Saturday evening.
ODU head coach Jeff Jones said while he wasn't happy with how his team performed, he praised Monarch fans.
"We promoted the game quite a bit and James Madison was coming in at 18th in the country and it was a big game, a rivalry game," he said.

"But you also have to understand that we'd lost our last two games. And yet these folks all showed up. I think that says a lot about our fans.
"We didn't give them a while lot to cheer for, but they hung in there with us and tried everything they could do to support us."
ODU (3-6) fell behind by double digits early and trailed by as many as 24 points in the second half.  But as Jones noted, the Monarchs mounted one run in the second half which briefly rattled JMU and brought the crowd to its feet.
With 3:28 left, Jason Wade made a steal, missed a layup but grabbed his own rebound and put the ball back in to trim that 24-point lead to 14 points, 77-63.
It would have taken a near-miraculous comeback at that point for the Monarchs to win, and on a night when ODU did not defend well nor shoot well, that was not in the cards.
T.J. Bickerstaff, a 6-foot-9 graduate transfer from Georgia Tech who had 21 points and 12 rebounds, made a layup to quickly build the lead back to 16 and the Monarchs failed to score a field goal on their next three possessions.
Chaunce Jenkins was a bright spot for ODU, as the junior from Newport News led the Monarchs with 19 points, three assists and two blocked shots. Freshman Vasean Allette added 14 points, Devin Ceaser scored 13 points off the bench and Tyrone Williams had 11.
JMU (9-0), which began the season with a 79-76 overtime victory over then fourth-ranked Michigan State, won its fifth game in a row over ODU. Although both schools are in the Sun Belt Conference, this was a non-conference game.
The teams meet again in Sun Belt games when the Dukes come to ODU on Jan. 24 and the Monarchs play in Harrisonburg on Feb. 3.
ODU was beaten in nearly every facet of the game. The Monarchs shot poorly (36.4 percent from the field, 18.2 percent on three-pointers), were outrebounded, 42-36 and were outscored, 48-32, in the paint. 
"James Madison is a pretty daggone good team," Jones said. "They create a lot of problems for you defensively.
"But we made way too many mistakes and didn't play nearly hard enough to slow them down."
It was the last game for ODU before the Monarchs travel to Hawaii to play three games in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic. They open against TCU on Dec. 21. They play two more games the next three nights. The field includes Georgia Tech, Hawaii, Nevada, St. Mary's, Portland, Temple and UMass.
The Monarchs are off for two days to take final exams and Jones said his staff will do everything it can to help players "finish out well academically," he said.
"This is not an easy time for student athletes. It's a very stressful time."
But when they return to practice, he said the players can expect to see changes.
"We got some guys that are having a real difficult time picking things up," he said. "And we're not doing anything differently than we've been doing here for ten years.
"We may have to simplify things. We may have to go from a small lineup to a smaller lineup.
"It hasn't worked to this point. So, rather than continuing to try to do the same thing over and over expecting a different result, we're going to have to make changes and make things easier for our players."

The Monarchs next play at home on Dec. 30 when they host South Alabama in their Sun Belt opener. ODU does not play at home in the New Year until Jan. 18, when the Monarchs host Marshall.