FACTS & STATS: Site: Constant Convocation Center (9,520) -- Norfolk, Virginia. Television: CSN-MA, NE, CSS, TCN. Home Record: NU 6-6, ODU 1-12. Away Record: NU 7-1, ODU 1-8. Neutral Record: NU 2-1, ODU 1-0. Conference Record: NU 10-1, ODU 1-10. Series Record: Old Dominion leads, 7-4.
GAME NOTES: After earning a win earlier in the week in interim head coach Jim Corrigan's first game at the helm, the Old Dominion Monarchs will try to keep that momentum rolling on Saturday afternoon when they host the Northeastern Huskies in a Colonial Athletic Association bout in Norfolk.
Northeastern is in the midst of one of its best seasons in program history. At 15-8 overall, it has already reached it highest win total since the 2009-10 campaign, and it is 10-1 in CAA action for just the second time in school history. The Huskies won their second straight contest on Wednesday when they went on the road to defeat Hofstra, 62-57.
ODU started the season a woeful 2-20 and 0-10 in the CAA until the recent firing of Blaine Taylor, who had tallied a school-record 239 wins in 12 seasons as the head coach. The Monarchs appeared to have new life with Corrigan calling the shots on Thursday night, as they snapped a 10-game losing streak and logged their first conference win of the year in a 78-66 triumph at Drexel.
Old Dominion swept Northeastern in two games during the 2011-12 campaign to take a 7-4 lead in the all-time series.
The Huskies appeared to be doomed when they found themselves down by 10 midway through the second half on Wednesday, but they went on a 19-4 run to take a 51-46 advantage with four minutes to play and they held on from there. Joel Smith was the catalyst in the victory, shooting 7-of-13 from the floor with four 3-pointers for 19 points. Quincy Ford added 15 points, six rebounds and two blocks, while Jonathan Lee chipped in nine points and five assists. On the season, Northeastern boasts the CAA's top scoring offense (69.0 ppg), and it is one of just five teams in the league that owns a positive scoring margin (+2.0). Smith has been a crucial reason for the team's success, as he scores 16.6 ppg while piecing together outstanding percentages from the floor (.485), 3-point range (.417) and the foul line (.855). Lee is a solid floor general with 12.9 ppg and 4.4 apg, while Ford (12.6 ppg, 5.7 rpg) and Reggie Spencer (10.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg) bring strong play to the low post.
After a tight first half, ODU was able to pull away from Drexel after intermission thanks in large part to a 14-1 run midway through the frame. It finished with a stellar .473 field goal percentage, and its strong effort was paced by 15 points apiece by DeShawn Painter and Dimitri Batten. Richard Ross was also solid in the Monarchs' first win since Dec. 22, tallying 14 points and six rebounds. Needless to say, Thursday night's output wasn't the typical performance for the three-win squad. ODU scores only 62.5 ppg while allowing a league-worst 70.2 ppg. Painter is the team's lone standout, as he averages 12.0 ppg and 8.0 rpg, although he shoots just 41.2 percent from the floor, which is especially poor considering most of the 6-foot-9 forward's work comes in close to the basket. Batten, Keenan Palmore and Donte Hill all net between 8.0 and 8.7 ppg, but none of them shoots better than 40 percent from the field.
A change at the top appeared to be necessary for ODU, and it will likely lead to more inspired play down the stretch. Still, even with a renewed sense of energy, the Monarchs simply don't have the manpower to topple to CAA's most impressive team, even at home.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Northeastern 73, Old Dominion 64
02/09 10:35:26 ET
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