Monarchs Fight Off Panthers
The ODU Monarchs (14-8, 7-3 C-USA) faced off against the Florida International Panthers (5-17, 1-8 C-USA) at The Ted this past Thursday. Despite Florida Internationals lackluster record, the Monarchs narrowly defeated the Panthers 64-57.
“The thing that’s more important, as far as I’m concerned, is not worrying about the opponent. These games are important for us. We need to win, so we need to be ready to play and ready to play for 40 minutes,” ODU head coach Jeff Jones said.
In a game that the Monarchs were favored by 13 points, they faced an uphill battle all night long. ODU trailed the Panthers at the half 34-31 leaving many fans disgruntled and disappointed. It wasn’t until late in the second half when the Monarch offense started to click. Their shots didn’t fall in the first half and they shot just 37 percent from the field, but they were red hot in the second half knocking down 65 percent of their shot attempts.
“We picked up the energy, we forced them to make turnovers, and capitalized,” ODU guard B.J. Stith said.
ODU only led for a total of 12 minutes of gameplay in comparison to the Panthers monstrous lead time of nearly 23 minutes, yet the Monarchs still managed to come out on top. The defense looked revitalized in the second half and managed to force nine turnovers which gave their offense some much-needed momentum to close out the contest.
“We weren’t able to take control of this game until towards the end,” Jones said.
Panther guard Donte McGill never stopped attacking ODU’s defense scoring 19 points, grabbing four rebounds and notching one assist.
B.J. Stith was the player of the game leading the team to its third consecutive win by contributing 15 points, five rebounds and two steals. In combination with Trey Porter’s 10 points, seven rebounds and one assist, this duo was able to prevent their team from suffering what would have been an embarrassing loss.
The Monarchs are currently entangled in a three-way tie with Louisiana Tech and the University of Alabama at Birmingham for second place in the conference. Continuing their current win streak will be crucial to their C-USA tournament seeding.
“This was a good job in regards to getting the win, now we have a quick turn around to play a good FAU team,” Jones said.