HOUSTON, TX (WTKR)- Everything was looking good for Old Dominion— until it wasn't.
The Monarchs saw an eight point lead disappear, going cold down the stretch in a 77-69 loss at Rice on Tuesday night. It's the second straight contest in which Old Dominion could not hang on to a late advantage, as it fell to 7-10, 2-2 in Conference USA.
Jaylin Hunter's three-pointer with 6:40 remaining put the Monarchs in front, 69-61, but that would be the final points they would score. Rice held ODU scoreless for the remainder of the game, ending the contest on a 16-0 run, while Jeff Jones watched his team miss its final 11 shots.
Trailing 40-38 at halftime, the two teams came out firing in the second frame, treating fans to a back and forth shootout. C.J. Keyser scored the first 14 points of the half for Old Dominion, trading three-pointers with the Owls as the half progressed. Mekhi Long's triple put the Monarchs up 57-54 with 13:20 remaining, part of a 7-0 surge to help get ODU some cushion.
When the final buzzer sounded, the lead had changed hands 16 times during the course of the contest.
Rice is not afraid to shoot the three pointer and it showed on Thursday night. The home team knocked down 13 of its 28 attempts from beyond the arc, with Carl Pierre connecting on seven of his ten three point attempts to lead the charge.
Old Dominion came out of the break and shot 60 percent from the floor for the first 13:20 of the frame before missing those final eleven attempts.
Keyser led four Monarchs in double figures with 21 points. Austin Trice continued his tear with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Kalu Ezikpe added 11 points and eight boards, while Hunter tallied ten points and dished out five assists. Four Owls scored in double figures as well, led by Pierre's 21 points.
Old Dominion continues its Texas road trip on Saturday when the Monarchs visit North Texas on Saturday evening. Tip-off is set for 6:00 PM ET.