Green, Monarchs Too Much For WKU, 67-63
— ODU Men's Basketball (@ODUMensHoops) February 23, 2019
The Old Dominion Monarchs on Saturday took another important step toward a Conference USA regular-season championship.
Trailing by three with 1:25 remaining, the Monarchs rallied with seven unanswered points down the stretch to defeat the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, 67-63, at Norfolk, Virginia.
It was the first game of the C-USA’s Group 1 bonus play, a new scheduling twist employed this season to boost the conference’s appeal in the eyes of the NCAA Tournament committee.
Other teams in the group include the Southern Miss Golden Eagles, the UTSA Roadrunners and the UAB Blazers. UAB won on the road, defeating Southern Miss 76-72 in overtime in another Group 1 game later Saturday.
UTSA was off.
Group 1 teams will continue the stretch drive for the C-USA title Thursday night, when the Jhivvan Jackson- and Keaton Wallace-led Roadrunners host the Monarchs at the UTSA Convocation Center.
UAB will host Western Kentucky.
Down by three against Old Dominion, Western Kentucky made a late push when Josh Anderson hit a couple of free throws and Lamonte Bearden scored on a driving layup.
Bearden’s bucket put the visitors up 63-60 with a little more than a minute remaining.
A that point, Old Dominion reversed the momentum and tied the score with an Xavier Green three-point jumper.
On the other end, Dajour Dickens blocked a shot by Hilltoppers’ freshman center Charles Bassey.
Green promptly knocked down another shot, a two-point basket, to give the Monarchs a 65-63 lead with 16 seconds left.
Western Kentucky went to Bassey again, and the former San Antonio high school standout got fouled.
A free throw miss and a turnover by Bassey gave the ball to the Monarchs and allowed B.J. Stith to clinch it with two free throws for the final points.
Old Dominion 12-3, 22-6
UTSA 9-5, 15-12
Southern Miss 9-6, 17-10
Western Kentucky 9-6, 16-12
UAB 9-6, 17-11
Note: Each team in Group 1 has four games in bonus play. At the conclusion of the bonus-play schedule, the standings leader is the C-USA regular-season champion. The top four get first-round byes in the C-USA tournament.
Old Dominion 67, Western Kentucky 63
UAB 76, Southern Miss 72, overtime
UTSA is off
Old Dominion at UTSA
Western Kentucky at UAB
Southern Miss is off