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Strong second half propels Old Dominion past William & Mary

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NORFOLK, Va. — After spending the pre-game warning his team about the importance of rebounding, William & Mary coach Tony Shaver took his courtside seat and watched his worst fears play out.

Old Dominion kept itself in it by pounding the offensive boards, then used two quick baskets by guard Trey Freeman to launch a 13-1 second-half run and speed past the Tribe 69-62 Monday night at the Constant Center.

The Monarchs’ 41-24 rebounding advantage included a 15-3 edge on the offensive end and led to 20 second-chance points.

“What disappoints me is we’re just not tough enough to win these games on the road,” Shaver said. “Twenty second-chance points? We’ve got no chance to win if we allow that.”

Still, the Tribe were still making a game of it and had things tied at 39 with 12:19 left when Freeman scored on a pull-up jumper, then added a transition layup 22 seconds later to put the Monarchs ahead to stay.

“I think I’d had a turnover before that and I just wanted to be more aggressive,” Freeman said.

Old Dominion expanded its lead to 14 with just over three minutes left, then held off a late Tribe flurry that got the visitors to within five points inside the final minute.

Freeman finished with a game-high 24 points, and guard Ambrose Mosley added 17 for the Monarchs. Old Dominion (10-1) heads into the Christmas break on a seven-game winning streak.

“The thing I’m most pleased with is with our ability to just hang in there and figure it out,” Old Dominion coach Jeff Jones said. “We’ve won games in a lot of different ways.”

Guard Marcus Thornton scored 22 points, guard Daniel Dixon added 16 and forward Omar Prewitt had 15 for the Tribe, which hurt its own cause with poor free-throw shooting. William & Mary (6-4) missed eight of its first 13 second-half free throws, with several of the misfires coming during the stretch in which Old Dominion pulled away.

The loss was William & Mary’s third in four games and third straight against Division I competition. All three losses were in road games, and next up is a trip to North Carolina on Dec. 30.

“We knew coming in December would be a brutal month,” Shaver said. “If we learn from these situations, it’ll help us come conference time. But we have to take the next step.”

William & Mary got off to uncharacteristically flashy start when swingman Terry Tarpey broke free off the opening tip and threw down a two-handed dunk four seconds into the contest.

The Tribe then settled into its typical style of crisp ball movement and lots of long-range bombs. A 3-pointer by Dixon, the Tribe’s fourth in the early going, staked William & Mary to a 20-17 lead.

Freeman took over there. With three consecutive pull-up jumpers and a free throw, Freeman scored seven consecutive points in a 10-2 surge that vaulted the Monarchs in front.

A dunk by forward Jack Whitman off a slick feed from Thornton got the Tribe within 29-26, but Freeman answered with a reverse layup in the final seconds to send Old Dominion into the break up 31-26.

Freeman finished with 15 first-half points for the Monarchs. Dixon had 10 first-half points and Thornton eight for the Tribe.

NOTES: William & Mary and Old Dominion met for the 42nd consecutive season. The Monarchs led the series 67-19, but the Tribe won the past three before falling Monday. … The Tribe made at least 10 3-pointers in each of its previous three games before shooting 9-for-23 (39.1 percent) from long range against the Monarchs. … Old Dominion began play ranked 18th in Division I in scoring defense, while William & Mary came in having shot better than 50 percent from the field in five of its past seven games. The Tribe shot 45.7 percent overall Monday.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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