NORFOLK, VA. (WDAM) _ The University of Southern Mississippi played quite the guest Saturday afternoon, allowing Old Dominion University second chance after second chance.
The Monarchs, who had lost just once in 10 games at Ted Constant Convention Center, repaid the favor by burying the Golden Eagles over the last 30 minutes of the game.
ODU used an 18-3 run to erase a seven-point deficit in the first half and grab an 11-point halftime lead and then kept the Golden Eagles grounded in the second half of an eventual 78-60 Conference USA victory.
It was the widest losing margin of the season for the Golden Eagles.
ODU not only outrebounded the Golden Eagles 45-32, but grabbed more rebounds on the offensive end (23) than off USM misses.
The Monarchs (14-5, 4-2 C-USA) took 68 shots from the floor, 18 more than Golden Eagles (11-8, 3-4) and outscored USM 24-9 on second-chance points. ODU got some of those extra shots off nine steals and even when the Monarchs starters got stiff-legged from running up and down the court, their bench doubled the offensive contribution (24-12) of USM’s.
In the end, the Monarchs won their third consecutive game to move into a three-way tie for third in the conference standings. USM saw a three-game winning streak snapped and slipped into a two-way for seventh place.
Senior guard Tyree Griffin led USM with 20 points and seven assists, but junior postman Tim Rowe was the only other Golden Eagle to finish in double figures with 11 points. Junior forward Leonard Harper-Baker pulled down 14 rebounds to go with six points.
Four Monarchs wound up with at least 10 points, led by senior guard Ahmad Carver, who had 19 points, eight assists and four rebounds.
Senior guard B.J. Stith had 17 points and seven rebounds, sophomore guard Xavier Green finished with 13 points and four rebounds and freshman guard Jason Wade added 10 points.
USM will return to Reed Green Coliseum next week for a two-game homestand starting at 7 p.m. Thursday when the Golden Eagles welcome Western Kentucky University (9-9, 2-3).