A slow start put Old Dominion in a huge halftime hole and late mistakes undid all the work it did to dig out from it.
After erasing a 13-point halftime deficit, the Monarchs took a three-point lead with 5:19 left, only to see VMI rip off an 11-1 run to take control for good in its 76-71 win Wednesday night at the Constant Center in Norfolk, Va.
Stan Okoye's layup with 3:29 left gave the Keydets (2-3) the lead for good and ODU (1-4) turned the ball over on four straight possessions in just over a minute's time. VMI turned two of those into transition layups, punctuating its 21-5 advantage in points off turnovers.
Dimitri Batten led the Monarchs with 21 points, while Donte Hill added 13 and Richard Ross scored 10 points. ODU did hit 7-of-19 3-pointers, a major improvement for a team which was 10-of-59 in the first four games.
Okoye's 22 points led all scorers, while teammate D.J. Covington added 13 points, 10 rebounds and seven blocked shots.
The Monarchs face a difficult road assignment Saturday night against Isaiah Canaan and Murray State.