After dropping nine straight games, Old Dominion has finally broke out of the cocoon of ineptitude and spread their wings. The Monarchs tackled the Virginia Cavaliers of the ACC, a squad that came into the game with a (gasp!) 9-2 record. Virginia had won their last eight games in a row by an average of 18.9 points per game before they fell to Old Dominion by two, 63-61.
Coming into the Saturday afternoon matchup, the Monarchs only had two players averaging over 10 points per game. Yet, when push came to shove, the squad finished the game with four players in double digits, including a career game from sophomore guard Dimitri Batten, who led the team with 23 points on a super efficient night (8-for-13, 5-for-9 3PT).
Heading into the game, Batten was averaging just 7.2 points per game, and at halftime he had already notched his seven points for the day. But rather than playing at his normal level, the sophomore stepped it up in the second half, making all five attempts from the field and both foul shot attempts to give Old Dominion a 41-38 lead with 10:16 left in the game, their first lead since 8:51 left in the first half.
The Monarchs grabbed the lead and never looked back, no matter how hard Virginia's Evan Nolte tried. After the ODU lead stretched to seven points with 7:46 left in the game, he scored 11 of the Cavaliers' final 23 points.
Nolte, a freshman forward, came into the game averaging just 5.8, continuing the game's trend of young players exceeding expectations. The same was said for Old Dominion's freshman guard Aaron Bacote, who scored 17 points and tacked on six rebounds and five assists after entering the game averaging 17.5 points, 2.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game.
Bacote contributed in the last minute of the game, factoring in as ODU hit 8 of 9 free throws in the final 43 seconds of the game to seal the deal for the Monarchs.
Virginia has been having a hard time with the CAA this year. All three of their losses have come to teams in the Colonial: George Mason, Delaware and now the Monarchs.