ODU Basketball: Monarchs top Rice, 80-76

oduODU (18-6, 8-3 C-USA) took down Rice (9-14, 4-6 C-USA) by an 80-76 score in front of 7,805 fans on Saturday night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center.

B.J. Stith poured in a game-high 28 points to compliment seven rebounds and two assists. Ahmad Caver recorded a double-double, going for 17 points, 11 assists and four rebounds. In the second half, ODU shot 70% (7-10) from three-point range.

The Monarchs have now won 16 of its last 19 games.

After trailing by four at halftime, ODU opened the second half on a 13-5 run, claiming a 43-39 advantage with 15:23 to play. Caver’s 10th assist of the ballgame found a streaking Jason Wade for a lay in, giving ODU a 66-59 lead at the 5:29 mark. Justice Kithcart’s third three-pointer of the contest gave ODU a 70-66 lead with 3:21 to play, as the Owls would not get any closer in Old Dominion’s four-point victory on Saturday night in Norfolk.

“This was another hard fought game and we thrilled to get the win,” said ODU head coach Jeff Jones. “We had to play well, Rice is a good team. In conference play, you can’t take anything for granted. We need to continue to be the best team we can be. We are happy to be in first place, but we have to keep it going.”

Kithcart finished with 14 points on 3-4 shooting from deep and five rebounds. For the game, the Monarchs connected on 57.10% (12-21) from three-point range. ODU held advantages for rebounds (40-33) and assists (18-12). The game experienced seven lead changes and six ties.

Stith poured in a half-high 14 points, as the Monarchs trailed 34-30 at halftime. Caver chipped in eight points in the opening 20 minutes.

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The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.
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