Jeff Jones and the Old Dominion Monarchs have certainly had a hot start coming into Saturday's game against rival VCU. The Monarchs were 4-1 and already had wins over Richmond at home and LSU in Virgin Islands. Aaron Bacote was supposed to be star for ODU but he came into Saturday's contest barely averaging 4 points per game, instead the Monarchs had been buoyed by Campbell transfer Trey Freeman.
Meanwhile VCU came into Norfolk after a rough start to the week getting dominated by Villanova but later beating Oregon in the consolation game of the Legends Classic in Brooklyn. The Rams were looking for some rhythm and trying not to look ahead to a December 6 home match up against #8 Virginia.
Unfortunately for VCU coach Shaka Smart, Bacote finally woke up today. The local junior posted 31 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists in a 73-67 win to send ODU to a 5-1 mark to start the year. Meanwhile, Freeman continued on his impressive start this season posting 15 points and 3 assists.
While the score may seem close this game was never really close. ODU jumped out to a 23-8 lead to open up the first ten minutes of the game and ended the first stanza up 32-18. Treveon Graham and his 34 points was the only thing that helped the Rams seemingly claw back into the game.
Graham was the only Ram who finished in double-figures besides Melvin Johnson who had 14 points on a 1-for-8 night from the field. Once again the Rams didn't get production from their bench with just 9 points, only 3 of which came from Smart's highly touted freshman class.
VCU will now most certainly fall out of the Top 25 in November for the second straight year. The Rams now have a tough Tuesday road match up against Illinois State, ironically the only team that has beaten ODU this year. The Monarchs will also hit the road for their second straight game against an old CAA, in-state rival in George Mason.