Old Dominion Prevails Over UTEP
On Thursday night, Feb. 25, the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) visited the Ted Constant Center hoping to extend their six-game winning streak, but instead were met with a tough loss to the Monarchs, 74-53. This win puts ODU’s record at 8-6 in C-USA and UTEP at 9-6.
Old Dominion started off communicating with one another, which allowed the team to set up a fast tempo and get an early advantage, leading 13-2 in the first five minutes alone.
“We had a lot of guys helping, and everybody had each other’s backs. That’s why we came out strong,” guard Trey Freeman said.
Forwards Brandan Stith and Denzell Taylor helped lengthen the lead with 10 points and 11 rebounds collectively, but it was freshman Zoran Talley who dominated the boards during the game and was a key player in the beginning. Talley led the team in points with 16 and was second for rebounds with 10. He was followed closely by Freeman, who was able to celebrate making over 2,000 career points, with the 14 points from the game.
“I’m thankful and I know I’m really blessed. I’m humbled by it,” Freeman said when asked about his 2,000 career points.
The Monarchs used an effective defense to keep UTEP out of the paint, ultimately resulting in a shooting percentage of just 26.9 percent in the first period for the visitors, although they had a small run halfway through. Old Dominion also led with assists during the first period with 9 to UTEP’s 3. Everything seemed to fall in place during the first half for ODU.
In the beginning of the second period, UTEP came back strong and cut the lead to only four points.
“What do we do?” Coach Jeff Jones said when asked his thoughts on UTEP closing the lead early in the second period.
“Stay poised, keep running the offense, get rebounds and stops and we’ll be able to get our lead back,” freshman guard Ahmad Caver said, when asked the same question. This is exactly what the Monarchs did. Old Dominion continued their strong run in the second period with the help of Caver who had 11 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists.
The Monarchs picked up their lead and by the end of the game, they were ahead by 21 points, leaving UTEP in the dust and breaking their winning streak.
“When we missed shots, we only got one. When they missed a shot they got two or three and that made a big difference in the ballgame,” UTEP’s coach Tim Floyd said.
ODU ended the game with a 19-2 run to win the contest, 74-53. They will go on to play University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) during Old Dominion’s Senior Night.