ODU men’s basketball impresses in Gildan Charleston Classic: Starts season 4-1
Jazzmyn Bradley | Contributing Writer
After starting their season 2-0, the Monarchs traveled to Charleston, S.C to compete in the 2017 Gildan Charleston Classic. All three games aired live on ESPN3, giving the Monarchs significant national exposure.
In the first game of the tournament, ODU faced off against Temple for the first time in school history. The game began with a 16-6 run by Temple after roughly seven minutes into the game. Later on, the momentum would swing back once Aaron Carver’s and-one would bring the Monarchs within six points after trailing by double-digits. At halftime, Xavier Green led all scorers for the Monarchs, shooting lights out from beyond the arc at 60%.
Following halftime, the Monarchs locked in on defense and held the Owls scoreless for almost four minutes, as they went on an 8-0 run to make a dent in the deficit. The Monarchs then went on a 24-6 run to pull within one point of the Owls. Unfortunately, their heroic second-half efforts fell short as they lost their first game of the season 65-76.
However, four monarchs emerged in double-figures, led by Xavier Green with a career-high 15 points. Trey Porter marked 14 points, five rebounds, and three blocks. While Aaron Carver had a striking presence on the night with a career-high 11 points and seven rebounds. Randy Haynes was active on defense with three steals to accompany his 10 points. The floor general Ahmad Caver dished out a game-high six assists. ODU held several advantages over Temple; bench points in the paint and points off turnovers. Unfortunately, their late rally was just not enough to seal the deal. Following Temple the Monarchs faced off against Indiana State.
Following the heartbreaking loss to Temple, ODU rose to the challenge and defeated Indiana State 62-44. Coach Jeff Jones expressed, “After the Temple loss, we challenged our guys, and they certainly responded well with an outstanding effort today.” “Our defense was awesome, and we did a good job on the boards, this was a good team win for us.”
The monarchs showed they could be a defensive force when need be. In the first half alone the Monarchs forced 17 turnovers compared to 6 of their own. Indiana State was held to just 27.3% shooting from the floor and even worse from three at 23.1%. Ahmad Caver had a breakout game with 22 points (9-11 FT’s), six assists, three steals and zero turnovers. Trey Porter scored a career-high 16 points with six rebounds and two steals. Brandan Stith stuffed the stat sheet with seven points, six rebounds, two assists and two blocks. Aaron Carver would have another career day off the glass with 12 rebounds. A pure all-around team win for the Monarchs. In their Charleston Classic finale, the monarchs battled the Dayton Flyers in the 5th place game.
The Monarchs finished out the tournament strong with a 75-67 win over Dayton. Randy Haynes and Ahmad Caver would put on a scoring clinic combining for 44 of the teams 75 points. Coach Jeff Jones had nothing but praise for his team postgame, “Hopefully our guys leave Charleston with some confidence and realize if we do the things we need to do we can win some games this season. After the first half against Temple and the loss, our guys weren’t feeling sorry for themselves and responded well and played good basketball the rest of the tournament.”
Instead of dwelling on the past the Monarchs remained mentally tough and played their game of basketball from then on out. A short-term memory will propel this team to the top. Randy Haynes score a career-high 25 points on 9-13 shooting with three assists to compliment. Ahmad Caver was once again efficient from the charity stripe shooting 70%; he tallied 19 points and seven assists. B.J Stith recorded a double-double with 13 rebounds and 10 points. The Monarchs shot 51.8% from the floor and 70.6% from the free-throw line. ODU lead Dayton for a lengthy 31:47 over the course of the game.
All in all, the Monarchs proved themselves offensively and defensively after a crushing loss to Temple in the quarterfinal game. Just as Coach Jones said, they gained some much-needed confidence and can only progress from this point on. Looking ahead, the Monarchs will have a break in action until November 25th when they will play William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va at 7 pm EST.