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2015 NIT: Old Dominion's early deficit dooms Monarchs against Stanford Cardinal

OId Dominion used a lot of magic to get to the semifinals against Stanford in New York City. But that magic went away during the first 10 minutes.

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Let's say right out when this game was over, even if the teams battled it out for another 30 minutes.

Stanford led Old Dominion 25-4 with 10 minutes left in the first half. The Monarchs had gone 1-for-16 from the floor, after a difficult 0-for start that included missed layups and just saw Jeff Jones' squad struggle with the length and size of Stanford.

To come back from that takes a lot of guts, and the Monarchs showed that, continuing to push the ball inside and forcing the Cardinal big men into foul trouble.

That led to a 12-0 run that had Old Dominion thinking it could. By the end of the quarter, Richard Ross had helped lead the Monarchs back to within five points, despite the disastrous start.

You wonder what could have been if the Monarchs hadn't started to cold from the floor. Could they have stayed close enough to push ahead with these runs and overcome Stanford? Could they have made the finals?

Probably yes, if they could have gotten Trey Freeman going just a little bit.

Instead, Freeman went 6-for-24 on the night and without a basket until the second half, and Old Dominion fell one game short of the final, 67-60.

Maybe all the magic left the Old Dominion run during its win against Murray State in the quarterfinals, when Trey Freeman launched the amazing shot from the deal to overturn the Racers.

Maybe this is just more of what the Monarchs dealt with all season. They put together some amazing wins, over Richmond, LSU, VCU and Georgia State. Yet after a 13-1 start the Monarchs tripped up against Middle Tennessee twice, and Texas San Antonio. Five losses in Conference USA just didn't seem to jibe with what this team was able to do during the nonconference season, even if the rest of the competition outside the top teams wasn't stellar.

Stanford was just too much for the Monarchs on Tuesday night. They were long and tall. They stacked up enough players inside that it made it difficult for Old Dominion to penetrate, especially against the 2-3 zone that the Cardinal threw at them.

They just came out hotter and really made Old Dominion overwork to get back into the game, a struggle which sent Jones to the locker room to try and work out a cramp during the Monarchs attempt to get even.

It is just too much to overcome when you get down that much against a team that is led by someone like Chasson Randle, who became the Stanford all-time leading scorer during the win. You can't fight back that hard, and hope to have enough to get over the top for good.

We saw that during the Wichita State loss against Notre Dame to a smaller extent.

We saw it again Tuesday night.

The Monarchs close out the season at 27-8 in Jones' first season. Stanford will move on to face Miami in the NIT finals.