Men’s Basketball: Old Dominion box out Owls in loss

A major rebounding advantage allowed the Monarchs to lead from beginning to end


Senior guard Solomon Poole attempts to dribble past ODU's Brandan Stith during the Owls' 78-66 loss. Poole finished with 14 points. Mohammed F. Emran | Staff Photographer

Ryan Lynch, Multimedia Editor

A lack of rebounding proved to be the downfall for Florida Atlantic men’s basketball against Old Dominion, as the Monarchs took control of the game’s rebounding advantage with 42 boards in a 78-66 loss Thursday.

FAU (5-16, 3-5 CUSA) was held to one rebound within the first 8 minutes of the second half and would record only 24 for the game. Much of the Monarchs’ (11-10, 4-4 C-USA) scoring help came from 14 offensive rebounds, which led to 14 second-chance points in the game.

“We just got man-handled tonight,” head coach Michael Curry said of his team’s performance. “You just have to take your lickings and say ‘alright, we gotta hit first.’ One thing I know is whether you’re undersized or outmanned, if you don’t hit first, you’re definitely gonna lose.”

The Owls failed to have a single player record double-digit boards.

Forwards Brandan Stith and Denzell Taylor would record 13 and seven rebounds respectively for the Monarchs. Zoran Talley added 8 rebounds of his own.

Talley, a redshirt freshman forward, also tied a career-high in scoring with 16 points. He last scored that many in a game at Georgia State on Dec. 12, 2015.

The Owls struggled to find their momentum against the sixth best scoring defense in the nation. ODU had given up only 61.7 PPG coming into the matchup and held FAU close to its average.

Redshirt freshman Ronald Delph and senior guard Solomon Poole were the only Owls that finished with more than 10 points on the night. Delph finished with a career-high 16 points as FAU’s leading scorer, hitting all seven of his shots and both of his free throws.

“Well, Ronald probably could have had 30 tonight with his size advantage,” Curry projected of the transfer from Auburn. “Some of the game, they got him away from the basket and that made it tough for him. Ronald has a nice touch, but he still has a way to go.”

Trey Freeman, who is averaging 20 points per game as ODU’s leading scorer, led the Monarchs with 28 points.

“One of the things we were concerned with was Trey Freeman, who was averaging 26 points a game anyways,” Curry said. “The type of game he has is very patient, very midrange. It’s kinda old-school, where he shoots the shots people now say are not good basketball shots, but he’s very, very good at the midrange game.”

ODU is now 10-3 when leading after halftime this year and has won every single one of its matchups against the Owls all time (4-0). With the win, the Monarchs surpass FAU in the Conference USA standings.

The loss was the Owls’ first after winning three of their last four games. They next play the Charlotte 49ers on Jan. 30 at 2 p.m.

Ryan Lynch is the multimedia editor of the University Press. For tips regarding this or other articles, he can be contacted at [email protected] or on Twitter.