Hokies Falter on the Road, Lose to ODU 58-55

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The Old Dominion Monarchs withstood a late Virginia Tech rally and knocked off the Hokies 58-55 on Friday night. Virginia Tech spoiled a good defensive effort by missing numerous open shots and shooting poorly from the free throw line. Tech cut the ODU lead to one point late in the game, but a costly technical foul on Jamon Gordon gave the Monarchs two free throws and possession of the ball, and the Hokies were unable to overcome the deficit. ODU improves to 8-4 with the victory, while Tech drops to 9-4.

Old Dominion led by as many as 13 points in the second half, and they led by 11 with 1:09 remaining in the game. At that point, the Hokies made their run. Jamon Gordon went on a tear, getting fouled after he hit a layup and converting the three point play to cut the lead to 53-45 with one minute remaining. With 47 seconds left, Gordon hit a three-pointer from the corner to bring Tech within five, 53-48.

The junior guard from Jacksonville wasn’t done. With 27 seconds remaining, Gordon cut the deficit to three with another layup. ODU led 53-50. Monarch guard Isaiah Hunter hit a free throw to increase the lead to 54-50, but Gordon scored on another layup with 21 seconds left in the game to cut the lead to 54-52. In just 39 seconds of action, Gordon scored ten points and single handedly kept Virginia Tech in the game.

Isaiah Hunter went to the free throw line again with 14 seconds left and calmly hit both free throws, increasing the ODU lead to 56-52. The Hokies got the ball back and Zabian Dowdell promptly nailed a three-pointer to make the score 56-55. At that point a strange sequence of events took place that spelled the Hokies’ doom.

First, the clock operator did not stop the clock after Dowdell’s three-pointer until there were 4.5 seconds left on the clock. The officials stopped play and reset the clock to six seconds, but in the process they called Jamon Gordon for a technical foul for a delay of game. Seth Greenberg said on the radio following the game that Gordon tapped the ball out of bounds after Dowdell’s shot, and the officials felt he was intentionally trying to prevent ODU from inbounding the ball so the Hokies could set up their defense. Despite Gordon’s technical foul, the game had to be delayed anyway so the officials could set the clock correctly.

Isaiah Hunter hit both technical free throws to take the lead to 58-55 and then ODU inbounded the ball from the far side of the court. The Monarchs threw a hail mary to Hunter, who had his shot blocked by Jamon Gordon. Gordon raced up court with the basketball, but his shot from approximately 40 feet away fell short and ODU held on for the victory.

Both teams shot poorly from the field. The Hokies hit 20-of-58 field goal attempts (34.5%). Old Dominion was even worse, hitting 18-of-57 shots, good for 31.6%. Tech hit just 3-of-17 three-point attempts, and two of those came in the final minute of the game. The Monarchs weren’t much better, hitting 4-of-19 from downtown. The Hokies lost the game at the free throw line, hitting just 12-of-23 attempts, a poor 52.2% conversion rate. ODU hit 18 of their 25 attempts from the charity stripe.

Virginia Tech managed to outrebound ODU 44-42 and grabbed an impressive 17 offensive rebounds. The Hokies countered this bit of good news by committing an uncharacteristic 17 turnovers while dishing out just six assists. The first half was particularly bad with one assist and 11 turnovers. Old Dominion finished with 12 assists and 12 turnovers.

Virginia Tech’s inside duo of Coleman Collins and Deron Washington could get nothing accomplished against ODU power forward Arnaud Dahi. Dahi finished with 15 points, nine rebounds and a career-high six blocked shots. Collins managed 12 points and seven rebounds, but could never get into the flow of the game on the offensive end. Washington had four points and led the Hokies with 11 rebounds. The Monarchs blocked 11 shots for the game, while Tech managed just two blocks.

The backcourt duo of Zabian Dowdell and Jamon Gordon were the only players who enjoyed much success offensively. Dowdell finished with 18 points, but shot just 6-of-18 from the field. Gordon also had 18 points and hit 8-of-11 shots from the field. He also pulled down seven rebounds and played all 40 minutes.

Virginia Tech’s bench, plagued by injuries, managed just two points during the game. The ODU reserves scored ten points.

The Hokies will take to the road again on Monday when they travel to James Madison. Tip-off is scheduled for 4pm and the game will be televised by CSN.

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