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ODU second half push comes up short vs. Rice

The Owls jumped out to a 20 point first half lead and held off the Monarchs 69-59
Credit: ODU Athletics

HOUSTON — The Old Dominion men's basketball team (7-4, 3-2 C-USA) had its three-game win streak snapped in a 69-59 loss at Rice (10-3, 4-1 C-USA) on Friday afternoon at Tudor Fieldhouse.   

After trailing by as many as 20 points in the first half, Kalu Ezikpe capped off an 11-0 ODU run to pull the Monarchs within six, 55-49, at the 10:31 mark of the second half. 

The Owls responded by scoring 14 of the game’s next 18 points, expanding their lead to 69-53 with 3:27 remaining in regulation, before ultimately claiming a 10-point victory on Friday afternoon in Houston.   

Malik Curry (three assists, two rebounds and two steals) and Austin Trice (seven rebounds) led the Monarchs with 15 points each. Also in double figures for ODU was Ezikpe, who finished with 10 points, six rebounds, one block and one steal. A.J. Oliver II went for eight points, nine rebounds and two assists.  

 “We just didn’t do a whole lot from a toughness standpoint to help ourselves,” explained ODU head coach Jeff Jones. “We had to play with a lot more focus. We played a little bit better in the second half and tried to chip away at the deficit, but we just couldn’t sustain it. Rice outplayed us today and we have to find a way to respond tomorrow.”  

For the game, Old Dominion held an 18-7 advantage for bench points. Rice finished the contest connecting on 14 of 40 three-pointers.   

 ODU ended the first half on a 7-0 run to cut its deficit to 13, 42-29, at halftime. The Monarchs were led by Trice’s 11 points (3-4 FG) and four rebounds, while Curry chipped in 10 points, two assists and one steal.