NORFOLK, VA (WTKR)- Old Dominion men's basketball had not played a game in two weeks, but did not show signs of any rust on Thursday night.
The Monarchs opened the game on a 7-0 run to set the tone and never trailed, rolling past Texas-San Antonio, 83-51, at Chartway Arena. The win improved their Conference USA mark to 2-0, 7-8 overall.
Criticized at times for their rough shooting performances, ODU was on fire and connected on 62 percent of its shots during the contest, opening up a 33-21 advantage at halftime and leading by as many as 34 points in the second frame. The Monarchs knocked down seven of their 16 three-point attempts and took care of the basketball, only committing six turnovers. They also held a convincing 40-22 advantage in the paint.
It marked another big night for Austin Trice, who got his first start of the season on Thursday. The senior forward poured in a game-high 19 points, connecting on nine of his 11 shot attempts. Jaylin Hunter chipped in 16 points and dished out seven assists, while C.J. Keyser added 16 points of his own. It was a strong all-around night for Mekhi Long who contributed eight points and nine rebounds. Erik Czumbel led the Roadrunners with 16 points.
The Monarchs scored at least 80 points for the third straight contest.
Jeff Jones and company were playing their first game since a December 30 win at Florida International. COVID-19 issues with Florida Atlantic postponed a scheduled New Year's Day showdown with the Owls, while ODU's own protocols forced a postponement of the Monarchs' scheduled game at Charlotte on January 8. That match-up will be made up on January 26.
Jones coached Thursday night's game barefoot in support of Samaritan's Feet, an organization that helps provide shoes to less fortunate and impoverished youth around the world. The head coach encouraged fans to make a donation to Samaritan's Feet that will go towards a shoe locker at Norfolk's Jacox Elementary School. Jones made his own personal donation of $5,000 towards the effort.
UTSA falls to 7-10, 0-4 in Conference USA. The Roadrunners entered the night at 336 in the NET Rankings.
Old Dominion gets right back to work on Saturday when UTEP visits Chartway Arena. Tip-off is set for 7:00 PM.