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Conference USA Notebook: Old Dominion Gets Big In-State Wins

Old Dominion knocked off both VCU and George Mason this week, putting the Monarchs at 6-1 and in good position as the non-conference portion of the schedule winds down.

Richard Ross and ODU flexed their muscles against VCU.
Richard Ross and ODU flexed their muscles against VCU.
Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

ODU beat LSU last week and they followed that win up with a couple more nice wins. The Monarchs beat No. 14 VCU 73-67, behind 31 points from Aaron Bacote and 15 from Trey Freeman.  Against George Mason, Ambrose Mosely came off the bench to score 21 points to lead the Monarchs to a 75-69 win. Mosely was 5-for-10 from 3-point land while forward Richard Ross added 13 points, 14 rebounds, and four assists.

UTEP and Middle Tennessee both stepped up in competition this week and both came out of it with a couple of tough losses. UTEP fell to Washington 68-65, and then lost at Colorado State, 65-62. Vince Hunter had 20 points and 13 rebounds against Washington, but the Miners hit just 2 of 15 from three. UTEP had a lead with under a minute to go, but the Huskies were able to win it at the free throw line.

MTSU lost to No. 23 Creighton 57-47 then lost to Belmont, 63-59. Belmont was 9-for-20 from the 3-point line while the Blue Raiders were 10 of 23. MTSU went on a 15-3 run late, but it wasn't enough. Reggie Upshaw Jr. leads the Blue Raiders with 9.4 points and 6.4 rebounds on the season.

Charlotte won a close one in overtime, 66-63 over UNC-Asheville.  Mike Thorne Jr. had 12 points and 18 rebounds and Pierria Henry hit a three pointer at the buzzer to win it. The 49ers fell 92-86 to Davidson as Willie Clayton fouled out after scoring 17 pints in just 16 minutes. Henry added 13 points and 8 assists.

Louisiana Tech added two wins to improve to 6-1. Alex Hamilton had a combined 49 points in wins over Samford and Northwestern State while Raheem Appleby added 38 points in the two games. Michale Kyser had 16 points, 13 rebounds, and 5 blocks in a 99-88 win over the Demons.

Southern Miss had a tough loss to Drexel early in the week, but the Golden Eagles came home to beat North Dakota State, 78-65. Matt Binyaga led the way with 15 points in the win as USM hit 10 of 20 from deep.

Conference USA had a few other wins over fellow mid-majors this week. UTSA beat Northern Arizona, 88-83, in overtime. Western Kentucky beat Bowling Green, 62-52.  FAU beat East Carolina, 72-63. FIU beat Kennesaw State 59-38.

STATS

Trey Freeman of ODU leads the league in scoring with 18.4 points per game. Raheem Appelby of LA Tech and Matt Binyaga of USM are next with 16.7 points per game apiece. FIU's Dennis Mavin (16.5) and UTSA's Jeromie Hill (16.3) round out the top 5.

UTEP's Vince Hunter leads CUSA in rebounding with 11.2 points per game while Mike Thorne Jr. of Charlotte is second with 9.6 per game.  Marshall's Ryan Taylor is third in the conference with 9.3 rebounds per game.

Norville Carey of USM (.684), UTEP's Cedrick Lang (.650) and UNT's Jeremy Combs lead the league from the field.

LA Tech's Speedy Smith leads the league with 7.14 assists per game while his teammate, Michale Kyser, leads the way with 3.57 blocks per game.

SCHEDULE

Saturday has a full slate of action as MTSU heads to South Alabama, UTSA travels to Washington State, Marshall hosts Penn State, WKU goes to Murray State, LA Tech hosts Jackson State, Rhode Island goes all the way down to Southern Miss, Rice hosts St. Edwards, and UTEP has the rematch of its rivalry game at New Mexico State.

Sunday, Charlotte goes to George Washington and UAB hosts Illinois State. Louisiana Tech has a rivalry showdown on Wednesday at Louisiana-Lafayette.

Charlotte, ODU, UTEP, and LA Tech all continue in the top 100 in the Sagarin ratings with UTEP leading the way at No. 72. Ken Pomeroy also has all four teams in the top 100 with LA Tech leading the way at No. 56.