BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (ODUSports.com) - Jaylin Hunter scored 20 points and Kalu Ezikpe added 12 points and 11 rebounds as Old Dominion dropped a 73-64 decision to Western Kentucky on Saturday night at E.A. Diddle Arena.
ODU scored the first points as Hunter stole the ball and made a layup, but the Hilltoppers responded with the next 12 points as Dayvion McKnight stole the ball and converted a layup with 16:57 left.
The advantage grew to 20-8 on a McKnight putback with 13:59 remaining. The Monarchs scored the next eight points with Austin Trice hitting a layup at the 11:18 mark to bring ODU to 20-16.
Charles Smith drained a 3-pointer with 6:27 left to keep the Monarchs down four at 29-25. WKU responded with a 15-2 run as a McKnight jumper put them up 44-27 with 1:07 left. C.J. Keyser closed the first half scoring with a 3-pointer as ODU trailed 44-30 at intermission.
In the second half, the lead grew to 20 points on a Jamarion Sharp dunk with 12:33 left as the Hilltoppers held a 57-37 advantage. WKU kept an advantage leading 61-44 after a pair of McKnight free throws with 8:58 left, but ODU responded with a 13-2 run as Hunter drained a 3-pointer to trim the deficit to 63-57 with 3:07 left.
The teams traded buckets as Keyser hit a floating jumper with 2:16 remaining to trail 65-59, but that was as close as ODU got.
Keyser added 11 points for ODU, while Smith chipped in with eight points and Trice had seven points.
“We hung in and found some ways to give us a chance late, but they hit enough shots to keep us away,” said ODU Head Coach Jeff Jones.
ODU returns home to face Florida Atlantic on Thursday night at 7 p.m. inside Chartway Arena.