Monarchs Destroy Blazers
On the road, the Monarchs (15-10, 8-5 C-USA) were determined to destroy the University of Alabama-Birmingham Blazers (15-11, 8-5 C-USA) in their Saturday night matchup. Their superior effort allowed them to achieve their first win against UAB since moving into Conference USA in 2013. UAB never led and fell to the Monarchs, 80-63.
The loss ended the Blazers 25-game C-USA home game win streak.
B.J. Stith achieved his first career double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds while adding four assists for good measure. Stith’s backcourt mate Ahmad Caver scored an astonishing 23 points in addition to dishing out eight assists, grabbing five rebounds, and two steals. Zoran Talley netted 12 points and snatched two rebounds, while Trey Porter didn’t miss a shot scoring 10 points. Forward Brandan Stith contributed 11 points, four rebounds and two steals in 30 minutes of play.
“To bounce back like this after our last two games, we could’ve hung our heads, and our guys did not. We talked about believing, we talked about leaving it all out there on the court, and we did exactly that tonight. Every one of our guys contributed to this win and has ownership in this performance. The big thing now is trying to keep this momentum going and showing maturity, and see if we can play at this level again next Saturday,” ODU head coach Jeff Jones said.
Collectively the Monarchs shot an outstanding 66 percent (33-of-50) from two, 50 percent (9-of-18) from three and a surprising 73 percent (8-11) from the free-throw line which has been an area of uncertainty all season. Fourteen out of 15 ODU players made an appearance in this match up while only eight of them scored. Coach Jones diversified from his typical rotation substituting players such as Stephen Vassor, Alassane Kah and Keith Pinckney.
“This was a big-time win for us,” Jones said.
The Monarchs entered halftime leading the Dragons 39-30. UAB failed to get back into the game and would only be able to strike ODU’s point lead within four points to 49-45 in the second half of the contest. ODU garnered their largest lead of 27 points in the second half of the game, and they trampled over the Dragons leading for a total of 39:02 out of the possible 40 minutes of competition.
This victory over UAB ended the tie between these two teams and bumped the Dragons into the fourth place in Conference USA. The Monarchs’ next matchup will be against the Charlotte 49ers who are under .500 including conference play. ODU will face off against the 49ers Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. in the Ted. The game will air live on ESPN3.