MIAMI -- The Old Dominion Monarchs lost their leading scorer in the first half but rode a balanced attack to a 52-36 victory over the Florida International Golden Panthers in a Conference USA matchup Thursday. Guard Aaron Bacote, who was averaging just less than 19 points a game, finished scoreless, but the Monarchs got 17 points from guard Keenan Palmore and 11 from guard Dimitri Batten to earn their second consecutive win. Bacote injured his ankle and limped off the floor at the 10:20 mark of the first half. He did not return. Old Dominion (8-9, 2-0 C-USA) never trailed after jumping out to a 12-3 lead in the first nine minutes. Florida International (9-9, 1-2) made a run early in the second half, pulling within 36-27 less than six minutes into the period. The Monarchs responded with a quick eight points to regain control. Forward Tymell Murphy was the only Panthers player in double figures, scoring a game-high 20 points. Neither team shot the ball well. The visiting Monarchs finished 19-for-51 (37.3 percent), while the Panthers shot 13-for-42 (31 percent). The Monarchs held a 15-point lead at intermission despite shooting just 25 percent from the field the first 15 minutes, but they made their last three shots of the first half, including a 3-pointer by guard Ambrose Mosley and added a couple of free throws to close out the period with a 9-0 run and 29-14 lead. Both teams shot under 40 percent in the first half, but the Monarchs got off 13 more field-goal attempts (30-17) by winning the rebounding battle 19-15 and forcing the Panthers into 11 turnovers while committing only four. Old Dominion wound up with a 37-28 rebounding edge. NOTES: The game at FIU was the first of a two-game swing through South Florida for the Monarchs, who take on Florida Atlantic on Saturday night in Boca Raton. Old Dominion returns home next Thursday to take on Southern Mississippi. ... The Panthers play host to East Carolina on Saturday. ... Florida International started a lineup of F Jerome Frink, F Tymell Murphy, C Rakeem Buckles, G Dennis Mavin and G Cody Mann for the fourth consecutive game. ... This was the first meeting ever between the schools, but FIU coach Anthony Evans spent the last six seasons as head coach at Norfolk State, Old Dominion's neighbor.
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