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N.C. Central outlasts Old Dominion in OT

The SportsXchange

NORFOLK, Va. -- The "bings" from LeVelle Moton's cell phone were so constant, the North Carolina Central coach couldn't begin his postgame remarks until he put the device on "silent."

That procedure is happening a lot lately.

Moton's Eagles made it six consecutive victories Tuesday as forward Karamo Jawara hit two big 3-pointers to rally the Eagles to a 76-69 overtime victory over Old Dominion on Tuesday at the Constant Center.

For the Eagles, a Mid-Eastern Athletic Association program that transitioned to Division I in 2007, the victory was their first ever over a Conference USA team. It came less than a month after they scored their first win over an Atlantic Coast Conference program by winning at North Carolina State.

"After the N.C. State game, I had 436 text messages," Moton said. "I've been here since the inception (of N.C. Central as a Division I program), and there were no smiles at the beginning, trust me. But this school has done some great things in the last weeks, and it's been a wonderful high.

"But the season's not over, so when we go back to practice tomorrow, I've got to humble them. Just find something on tape to yell at because this is different."

With the Eagles trailing by three and 3:16 remaining in regulation, the 6-foot-8 Jawara drained his second 3-pointer of the season to tie the score at 63.

In overtime, after guard Dimitri Batten's layup gave Old Dominion a two-point lead on the opening possession, Jawara connected from beyond the arc again to put the Eagles ahead for good.

Jawara was 1-for-4 on 3-pointers heading into the game. Still, Moton said that shot is definitely in the junior's range.

"He's from Norway, so he has that European style," Moton said. "The thing is he's so unselfish. I have to tell him you're being selfish by being unselfish."

Guard Alfonzo Houston scored 16 points, and Jawara, guard Jordan Parks and guard Jeremy Ingram all had 14 for the Eagles (6-1). Ingram, who came in averaging 25.8 points per game, fouled out with 4:04 remaining.

Batten led all scorers with 25 for the Monarchs, who trailed by 13 at halftime and were still down nine with less than 12 minutes to play before they began rallying. Guard Aaron Bacote, who scored at least 20 in five of Old Dominion's previous seven games, was held to 12, and he committed seven turnovers. The sophomore also missed two free throws with 55 seconds left and the score tied at 63.

"I got off to a good start this season, started to form an identity, and teams are starting to focus on the guards more," Bacote said. "So it's tough, but you've still got to make a play. There's no excuse in how I ended the game, how we ended the game as a team."

The loss was Old Dominion's third straight and second in as many overtime games this season. The Monarchs (4-4) fell 79-67 in overtime to Missouri State in their season opener. Old Dominion was outscored 16-4 in the extra period in that game, and it was outscored 13-6 in overtime Tuesday.

"There were a lot of repeat repetitions of what we saw (in overtime) against Missouri State," Monarchs coach Jeff Jones said. "There were a couple of defensive breakdowns ... and we fell in love with the 3-point shot. That's not how we got back in the game. We drove the basketball."

The Monarchs finished the game 3-for-19 from 3-point range and 8-for-18 from the free-throw line.

NOTES: North Carolina Central starting F Jay Copeland, the team's leading rebounder and a native of nearby Suffolk, Va., picked up his second foul 76 seconds into the game, then picked up his third less than two minutes after re-entering in the middle of the first half. ... The Eagles came into the game with a 0-11 record all-time against Conference USA teams. They were 0-13 against ACC before knocking off North Carolina State 82-72 in overtime on Nov. 20. ... Old Dominion dropped both its games in last week's Cancun Classic but brought a four-game home winning streak into the contest.
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