Old Dominion 70, Murray State 60
NORFOLK, Va. -- The Old Dominion Monarchs scored the first eight points of the second half to erase a six-point deficit and surge past the Murray State Racers 70-60 Friday night at the Constant Center.
A 3-pointer from guard Dimitri Batten 23 seconds into the second half kickstarted the Monarchs (2-1), who trailed 35-29 at the break. Guard Keenan Palmore's layup and forward Denzell Taylor's dunk followed before Batten put Old Dominion in front with a short runner.
A jumper by Murray State guard Cameron Payne tied things at 38, but guard Aaron Bacote's layup with 14:28 left gave Old Dominion a lead it would never relinquish.
Bacote scored 21 points and added eight assists while forward Richard Ross chipped in 12 points and nine rebounds to lead the Monarchs, who outrebounded the Racers 43-36 and allowed only seven offensive boards.
Payne scored 17 to lead four players in double figures for the Racers (1-2), who shot just 33 percent from the field in the second half and struggled from the free throw line all night. A 72-percent free throw shooting team coming in, Murray State made just one of its first 11 attempts from the line Friday and finished 7 of 18.
Guard Cameron Payne's play was pivotal in the Racers gaining the initial advantage as he shook off early foul trouble. The Racers freshman, who scored 21 points in his college debut against Valparaiso a week ago, picked up two fouls in a 13-second span and had to sit out before the game was two minutes old.
By the time Payne returned at the 10:21 mark, Murray State trailed 17-10. The Racers promptly scored 18 of the game's next 22 to surge in from 28-21.
A Bacote 3-pointer and a Ross dunk that led to a three-point play got the Monarchs to within one. But a Payne 3-pointer. Forward Jeffrey Moss' fastbreak layup and guard Dexter Fields' 3-pointer allowed the Racers to regain control.
Payne finished the half with 10 points and four assists.
NOTES: The Racers topped the Monarchs 79-72 when the teams met last season in Kentucky, but only four Murray State players who played in that game are still on the team. ... Old Dominion came into the game making just 49 percent of its free throws after its first two games, including a 13-for-30 effort in Wednesday night's 77-57 victory over Howard. ... Murray State shot 53.1 from the field for the first half (16-30) but attempted just two free throws and missed both.