Big second half leads Old Dominion past Virginia, 63-61

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchangeDecember 23, 2012


RICHMOND, Va. -- Old Dominion trailed by double digits in the second half but battled back to get just its second win of the season, stunning Virginia 63-61 in the inaugural Governor's Holiday Hoops Classic at the Richmond Coliseum.
Old Dominion (2-10, 0-1 CAA) snapped a nine-game losing streak. The Monarchs' only other win came Nov. 10 against Morgan State.
"There's a lot of wins I've had over the years and a lot of those wins in this arena," Old Dominion coach Blaine Taylor said. "But this will go down as one of the ones that I'll really appreciate a lot as a coach just because it meant so much to the kids."
On the other side, Virginia (9-3) had its eight-game winning streak snapped and suffered its third loss to a CAA opponent this season.
Old Dominion was led by Dimitre Batten, who had 23 points off the bench on 8-for-13 shooting. Aaron Bacote had 17 points for the Monarchs while DeShawn Painter had 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Batten had averaged just 7.3 points per game heading into the game and was shooting just 33.3 percent from the floor.
Taylor said he and his staff have been hard on Bitten recently, pointing out he hasn't given them what they wanted.
"We keep telling each other, 'Don't give him compliments,'" Taylor joked. "And it seems to work."
Old Dominion scored 43 points in the second half, the most Virginia has allowed in a half all season. Taylor said to prepare for the Cavaliers' pack line defense, he wouldn't let his team shoot for 20 seconds when running offense in practice.
"We couldn't come up with a stop when we needed to," Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. "They pursued all night, and they were physical. We just weren't executing the way we had to to beat that team."
The Cavaliers made the game interesting in the last minute, cutting the lead to three on a 3-pointer from freshman Evan Nolte with 33.6 seconds left, making the score 57-54.
After a free throw from Painter, Nolte then followed up a Joe Harris miss and was fouled with 21.4 seconds left. He made the free throw to cut the lead to 58-57.
Bacote hit two free throws to push the lead to 60-57.
Nolte was then fouled and converted two more free throws with 16.3 seconds left to cut the deficit again to 60-59.
Donte Hill made two free throws with 13.3 seconds left to make it 62-59.
Cavaliers freshman point guard Teven Jones hit a jumper from the right baseline with 3.1 seconds left to cut the lead again to one at 62-61.
Hill made one of two free throws to make it 63-61. The Cavaliers got the ball to Joe Harris, who was stripped as he crossed midcourt, failing to get a shot off.
Harris led the Cavaliers with 18 points while Nolte had 15 off the bench.
Old Dominion went on a 21-4 run in the second half to take a 45-38 lead with 7:45 to go. Batten scored 14 of the 21 points. He had eight points in a matter of 1:09, hitting a 3-pointer with 13:28 to go, a floater with 12:52, and a 3 to tie the game at 34 at 12:19.
Batten hit a trey with 10:14 to go to give the Monarchs their first lead since the first half at 41-38. He followed that up with another 3-pointer at 8:20 to make the score 44-38.
Batten said his teammates gave him a simple message Saturday: "Do what you do."
His performance did not surprise his teammates, who have seen this plenty in practice.
"I've been in his ear every day because I know what he's capable of," Hill said. "None of us is surprised about what he did today."
Virginia led 25-20 at halftime. Trailing 12-9, the Cavaliers used a 14-2 run midway through the first half to seemingly take control of the game.
The two teams now head into the holiday break on much different notes. Both teams have a week off before their next games.
After the game, Taylor heard someone call his team's performance an "epic win," which he did not disagree with.
"In some respects, it is an epic win," Taylor said. "I don't want to put too much street cred on it, but you look at our roster, you look at our record, you look at the time of year, boy, it doesn't get much better."
NOTES: Virginia is 9-4 against Old Dominion. The teams last met in the quarterfinals of the College Basketball Invitational on March 24, 2008, with the Cavaliers winning 80-76. ... Old Dominion had just eight players dressed for Saturday's game because of injuries. ... Virginia point guard Jontel Evans missed his eighth game of the season due to a foot injury.