In an intense match-up Saturday, the Tribe fell 57-62 to the Old Dominion University Monarchs (23-7, 15-3 CAA), who brought their winning streak to 11 games. The loss leaves the College at 15-14 overall and 8-10 in the CAA heading into the CAA tournament, where the Tribe will be the eighth seed. ODU’s victory secured the second seed and a first-round bye.
p. “It was a very physical game,” Head Coach Tony Shaver said. “I think they are the most physical team in the league. I thought we went toe-to-toe with them.”
p. The physical play in the paint made it tough for either team to score inside the three-point line. The two teams combined for just 14 two-point field goals, but both erupted from long range with ODU making 12 three-pointers and the Tribe making 11. The even shooting performances from each team kept the game close.
Five lead changes and five ties resulted in neither team distancing itself from the opposition. The largest lead of the game came with two minutes, 18 seconds remaining in the first half after a 16-4 Tribe run gave the College a 7-point lead at 33-26.
p. Down three at halftime, the Monarchs quickly took the lead back at the beginning of the second half. A Drew Williamson three — one of his six in the game — and a three-point play from Brandon Johnson (13 points, seven assists) gave ODU the lead just 34 seconds into the second half. Williamson’s four second-half three-pointers brought the senior to a career-high 20 points and kept the Monarchs in the game.
p. “He’s clearly one of the best guards in the league,” Shaver said of Williamson’s performance.
p. ODU led for much of the second half until a three-pointer from freshman David Schneider gave the Tribe the lead at 51-50 with 5:11 left. Williamson answered with a three of his own at the 3:40 mark to give the Monarchs a 53-51 advantage. Two free throws from sophomore Alex Smith, who came off the bench to grab seven rebounds and score four points, tied the game at 53-53, but ODU reeled off five straight points with a three-pointer from Johnson and a layup from Valdas Vasylius.
p. Trailing by five with 1:56 remaining, the College climbed to within two with a three-pointer from junior Nathan Mann (11 points), but the Tribe would get no closer. Vasylius hit two free throws and at the other end, senior Adam Payton made one of two at the line, leaving the College down three with 45 seconds left. The Tribe defense forced a missed three-pointer from Vasylius, but ODU’s Brian Henderson grabbed the rebound and hit two free throws to secure the victory.
p. The eighth-seeded Tribe travels to Richmond Friday to face the ninth-seeded Georgia State University Panthers in the first round of the CAA tournament. The Tribe defeated the Panthers twice this season, winning 57-43 on the road and 81-65 at home. Tip-off is scheduled for 12 p.m. at the Richmond Coliseum.