NORFOLK, VA (WLBT) - It was a game of runs in the first half, but Old Dominion built a 40-29 lead at the break and maintained control throughout for a 78-60 win over Southern Miss on Saturday. Eight of the Golden Eagles' last 10 games have been on the road, beginning Dec. 15 at Wichita State.
"They are a bigger, stronger and more physical team," head coach Doc Sadler said. "When you give up 23 offensive rebounds, you aren't going to win many games. That's what we did. I wish I could say it was something we didn't do, but it's what they did. They just beat us."
Old Dominion (14-5, 4-2 C-USA), which won at No. 25 Syracuse earlier in the year, jumped out to a 7-0 lead. The Golden Eagles more than recovered, going up 22-15 on a Gabe Watson three-pointer at 9:14. The Monarchs, however, nailed three-pointers on their next four possessions to regain a 27-22 advantage.
Tyree Griffin's fastbreak layup at 1:55 got Southern Miss back within 33-27, but ODU ended the half on a 7-2 run. Southern Miss got back within six twice in the first 4:04 of the second half, but that was as close as it would get.
"We turned the ball over too many times today," Sadler said. "A lot of it is that it's a tough trip. We usually turn it over 8-9 times, and we had 13 today. They turned that into double-digit points in transition. The bottom line is that they have a good team. They didn't shoot well, but it doesn't affect you as much when you have that many offensive rebounds. They had eight three-pointers in the first half, which is their season average, and we held them to two in the second. They just got us on the boards."
There was a lengthy delay at the 3:52 mark of the second half to review if the score was correct. Griffin drove for a layup that appeared to cut the Monarchs' lead to 68-55, but officials upheld the 70-53 margin on the board and book after video reviews and conversations.
Southern Miss (11-8, 3-4 C-USA) returns home this weekend for two games, beginning with a 7 p.m. tilt Thursday night versus WKU.
-The previous three meetings between the schools were decided by 11 combined points.
-Leonard Harper-Baker's 14 rebounds were the most by a Golden Eagle this season. It was a career-high for him, and also his fifth-such game in double-figures.
-Harper-Baker's five blocks also matched career-highs and Southern Miss season-highs.
-Tyree Griffin's seven assists puts him at 328 for his career. He's five away from cracking the top-10 in school history in less than two years with the team.
-Griffin's 20 points marked the third time he's done so this year, and the 11th of his career.
-Ten of the 11 Golden Eagles who saw action got into the scoring column.
-Southern Miss was No. 4 nationally entering the night with just 9.5 turnovers per game.
-Cortez Edwards' nine points gives him 1,221 for his career, passing Gary Kochersperger (1964-67) for No. 24 all-time.