Efe Odigie registered his eighth career double-double (13 points, 12 rebounds), but Old Dominion had three players hit double figures as it got past UTEP, 50-48, on Thursday night in the Don Haskins Center.
“At the end of the day it’s about just trying to find a way to win,” first-year UTEP Head Coach Rodney Terry said. “Our young guys are going through growing pains with what it takes to finish games. Things are really magnified late in games when you really have to lock into the details and follow the scouting report all the way through. Especially when you are playing veteran teams with veteran players that know what they are looking for. You shoot the gap on [B.J.] Stith he knows exactly what to do on that, he is fading all day long, and he is going to make that shot more than he misses.”
Both squads didn’t shoot particularly well in the low-scoring affair as the Miners (6-12, 1-6 Conference USA) shot 25.9 percent and the Monarchs (16-5, 6-2 C-USA) shot 30.8 percent.
The Miners had a chance to either tie or win the ball game when they got the ball back with seven seconds remaining. Ahmad Caver missed a jumper that was rebounded by Jordan Lathon. UTEP then called a timeout after Lathon advanced the ball across midcourt to draw up a final play. On the ensuing play, Lathon drove baseline, passed the ball to Odigie in the low post but Dajour Dickens was credited with a steal after he and Odigie got tied up to force a jump ball in which the possession arrow was in favor of ODU. The Monarchs were able to take the ball and run the clock out.
UTEP was down as many as 11 points (44-33) at the 8:48 mark during the second half as a Justice Kithcart three pointer gave the Monarchs their biggest lead of the game.
But the fighting Miners answered with an 8-0 run to get within three points (44-41) at the 5:55 mark. Evan Gilyard, who got off to a poor start shooting the ball, scored all seven of his points during the run. Gilyard connected on four consecutive free throws and hit a three-point bucket. Odigie ended the run with a made free throw
After ODU took a pair of five-point leads, Lathon nailed a three-point shot at the 2:11 mark to get the Miners within two points (48-46). Odigie would tie the game at 48-48, but B.J. Stith made a pair of free throws with just over a minute remaining.
The Miners biggest lead was a 7-4 advantage in the first at the 13:14 mark during the first half, but the Monarchs outscored them 18-10 the rest of the way and went into the locker room up 22-17.
Nigel Hawkins scored eight points on 3-of-14 shooting, while recording five rebounds and tying Gilyard for the team lead with three assists. Gilyard also registered six rebounds. Lathon scored seven points and recorded four rebounds with two assists and a steal. Ountae Campbell recorded a career-high seven rebounds and chipped in with three points. Paul Thomas and Kobe Magee each scored five points.
Odigie, who ranks second in C-USA with eight double-doubles, also tallied three steals and pulled down six offensive rebounds.
ODU outrebounded UTEP, 47-46, while the Monarchs also edged out the Miners on the offensive glass, 17-16.
Kithcart led with 16 points, while Caver scored 13 points and Stith 12. Aaron Carver led ODU with nine rebounds.
Up next, UTEP will host Charlotte on Saturday. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. in the Haskins Center.
Gallery courtesy Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta – Chief Photographer – El Paso Herald Post