NORFOLK, Va. — Old Dominion didn’t make many shots, but because the Monarchs did just about everything else right, in the end it didn’t matter.
The Monarchs used defense and rebounding to overcome subpar marksmanship and subdue Maryland-Eastern Shore 60-43 on Friday night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center.
Guard Aaron Bacote and forward Jonathan Arledge each scored 12 points for the Monarchs (9-1), who shot just 35.7 percent from the field and made only 5 of 24 from 3-point range.
But their 38-27 rebounding edge included a plus-10 advantage on the offensive boards. They denied entry passes to Hawks forward and leading scorer Michael Myers, who led all scorers with 13 points but had just six field goal attempts. Old Dominion also scored 22 points off 18 Maryland-Eastern Shore turnovers to secure its sixth straight victory.
“Those extra possessions, they’re huge when you’re not shooting the ball well,” Old Dominion coach Jeff Jones said.
The Monarchs’ shooting struggles began late in the first half. After building a nine-point lead, the Monarchs went the final 4:29 of the first half without a point, then made just two of their first 17 shots from the field in the second half — and still led by nine.
That’s because the Hawks were even more off-target. Maryland-Eastern Shore made just one field goal during a nearly 12-minute stretch to open the second half.
“We wanted to get the ball inside to Myers, and when we couldn’t we started to force it,” Hawks coach Bobby Collins said. “Running our halfcourt offense is normally what we’re good at. But I was very disappointed in it tonight.”
A layup by guard Keenan Palmore, two free throws from Bacote and a layup by Bacote midway through the second half boosted Old Dominion’s advantage to 15.
It was the second straight tough shooting night for the Monarchs, who hit just 34.7 percent of their field goals and 5 of 23 3-pointers in Wednesday’s 58-54 overtime victory over Georgia State. But Bacote didn’t think the mini-slump would last must longer.
“It’s not like we’re out there bricking,” said Bacote, noting that the Monarchs did make 15 of 16 free throws. “We’re getting good looks. If we just keep taking good shots, eventually they’ll fall.”
The Hawks shot 39 percent from the floor for the game and were outscored 27-12 in the first 18-plus minutes of the second half. The 43 points were their season low.
“I think our zone caused them a few problems, but they just grinded it out,” Collins said.
In the first half, the lead changed hands five times before two free throws by Arledge gave Old Dominion a 15-14 edge and triggered a Monarchs surge. Old Dominion went on to score 15 of the next 20 points, with the run capped by a transition layup from forward Nik Biberaj that gave the Monarchs a nine-point lead.
Both offenses stalled at that point. Old Dominion went the final 4:29 of the half without a point, but Maryland-Eastern Shore could only close the deficit to five at 31-26 as the Hawks went scoreless for the final 2:11.
Bacote scored eight first-half points to lead Old Dominion, which scored 12 points off nine Maryland-Eastern Shore turnovers. Forward Iman Johnson had six on 3-of-3 shooting from the field to pace the Hawks.
NOTES: Old Dominion’s 9-1 start is the school’s best since the 2004-05 season. … Maryland-Eastern Shore came in with three straight nonconference victories (at Fordham and against Maryland-Baltimore County and Navy), the program’s longest such streak since 1995-96. … Old Dominion is 8-0 all-time against Maryland-Eastern Shore.
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