MIAMI, Fla. (ODUSports.com) – In the Conference USA opener, the Old Dominion men's basketball team (4-3, 0-1 C-USA) fell to FIU (7-2, 1-0 C-USA) by an 82-67 score on Friday night at the Ocean Bank Convocation Center. Malik Curry paced ODU with 15 points to go along with eight rebounds and six assists.
After trailing by as many as 20, 63-43, at the 12:44 mark of the second half, the Monarchs utilized a 16-6 run to cut their deficit to 10, 69-59, with 7:14 remaining in regulation; however, would get no closer the rest of the way.
"We fought and scratched to cut the lead down, but we've got to help ourselves more," said ODU head coach Jeff Jones. "We have to be a team that learns better. We certainly have good kids, but it's not just a matter of playing hard. We have to understand everything that goes into winning. When it is crunch time, the game changes, and you can't play those crucial moments the way the rest of the game might have gone."
Joining Curry in double figures for Old Dominion were Kalu Ezikpe (13 points, nine rebounds and one block) and A.J. Oliver II (11 points and two rebounds). Joe Reece chipped in eight points, seven rebounds, three blocks and one assist. For the game, ODU out-rebounded the Panthers, 41-25.
The Monarchs trailed by eight, 37-29, heading into the locker room at halftime. Old Dominion was led by Ezikpe's nine points on 4-6 shooting from the floor and seven boards in the opening 20 minutes.
The second leg of the back-to-back games for the Monarchs will take place on Saturday, Jan. 2 at 3:00 p.m. EST against Florida International. Tomorrow afternoon's contest in Miami, Fla. will be streamed on ESPN+.
Ted Alexander and Dave Twardzik's live pregame show will begin at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon on the ODU Sports Radio Network.