NORFOLK, Va. (ODUSports.com) – A.J. Oliver II poured in a career-high 21 points to lead the Old Dominion men’s basketball team (8-13, 4-4 C-USA) over Florida Atlantic (12-9, 4-4 C-USA) by a 65-55 score on Saturday night in front of 7,618 fans at Chartway Arena. The 55 points was a season low for the Owls.
The Monarchs opened the second half on a 20-9 run, ballooning their lead to 14, 51-37, at the 13:49 mark. The Owls pulled within seven, 59-52, with 2:29 to play, but would get no closer as the ODU pulled out a 10-point win in Norfolk on Saturday night.
“Our guys have been through a lot of stuff, so to continue responding and to do it tonight and then have the outcome be what it was, this was pretty special, this is good stuff” said ODU head coach Jeff Jones after the victory. “I’m really proud of the guys. I would have been just as proud of them had we not won the game for how the responded and for how they keep getting back up off the mat. Our guys are so together. It is a good day for Monarch basketball.”
To go along with Oliver II’s career-high 21 points, he grabbed six rebounds and had two steals. Xavier Green followed with 14 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals. Malik Curry also finished in double-figures, turning in a 12-point, seven-rebound, six-assist performance. Kalu Ezikpe added nine points and 12 rebounds in 21 minutes of work. Aaron Carver grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds.
For the game, Old Dominion led for 31:59 of the possible 40 minutes. ODU held advantges for points in the paint (34-19) and fast-break points (12-3) for the contest.
In a first half, which experienced six ties and four lead changes, ODU claimed a three-point lead at the half. Oliver II led the way with 10 points, while Carver hauled down a half-high seven rebounds.
Old Dominion will return to the hardwood on Thursday, Jan. 30, when the Monarchs travel to Hattiesburg, Miss. for a showdown at Southern Miss. Tipoff is slated for 8:00 p.m. EST.