Old Dominion dominates in Richmond with 70-59 win vs. VCU

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Prior to Saturday afternoon's game at VCU, Old Dominion athletic director Wood Selig encountered a young Rams fan in the men's room.

The fan didn't know Selig but knew the Monarchs' sweater he was sporting.

"ODU sucks," the fan said good-naturedly.

Indeed, the Monarchs are about as welcome in the Siegel Center as Mubarak in Cairo. They are the Rams' fiercest rival, and they'd lost 10 times here in 11 previous visits.

Not Saturday.

In one of its most complete efforts this season, ODU dominated the interior and ended the nation's fourth-longest home-court winning streak at 22 games.

"They put in quite an effort," coach Blaine Taylor said of his Monarchs after the nationally televised 70-59 victory.

The effort was most evident in the paint, where ODU outscored VCU 46-18 and won the rebounding battle 46-21.

"That's just ridiculous," Rams center Jamie Skeen said of the disparity.

Indeed, even though the Monarchs rank second nationally in rebounding margin at plus-11 per game, Saturday's gap was stunning. Especially considering ODU outrebounded VCU by a scant four in their first meeting, a 59-50 Rams' win last month.

"We watched the tape," James said of the first game. "It wasn't anything they were doing to us. It was things we were doing to ourselves."

Among the Monarchs' issues that day, James said: Senseless turnovers and failing to box out.

Those problems were solved Saturday.

"Killed us on the boards, killed us in the paint," VCU point guard Joey Rodriguez said, "and that's not just the bigs. That's the guards' fault, too."

Frank Hassell and Ben Finney each had double-doubles, Hassell with 18 points and 11 boards, Finney with 15 and 11, plus a game-high six assists.

Guard Kent Bazemore added 13 points, six rebounds and three steals. He had the game's most spectacular bucket on an alley-oop and scored the first six points of the second half to goose ODU's lead to 38-24.

The Monarchs (20-6, 11-4 Colonial Athletic Association) never ceded command thereafter. They shot 51.7 percent in the second half, a crisp 48.3 for the game, and when that accurate, ODU is a load for anyone from any conference.

That's because the Monarchs are consistent defensively and on the boards. Saturday, for the second consecutive game, Taylor abandoned his preferred man-to-man D and played mostly zones.

"It was kind of a last-minute decision," he said. "I anticipated playing a little more man-to-man than we did."

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