NORFOLK, Va. — The Old Dominion Monarchs learned where and who they'll play in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament on Sunday. After being given the #14 seed, they'll open on Thursday against #3 seed Purdue in Hartford, Connecticut.
On Saturday, Xavier Green scored 14 of his game-high 16 points in the second half to lead Old Dominion to a 62-56 victory over Western Kentucky in the Conference USA Tournament championship game on Saturday night.
Top-seeded Old Dominion (26-8), the eighth-stingiest scoring defense in the latest NCAA statistics (61.2 points per game), won three tournament games by a total of nine points to earn its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2011. Western Kentucky (20-14) was the second seed.
With ODU trailing 37-34, Green made a traditional three-point play to tie the game and added two 3-pointers for the lead. WKU came back to tie the game at 47-47 before C-USA Player of the Year B.J. Stith scored to break the tie. Green added another 3-pointer for a 54-48 lead and the Hilltoppers didn't move within four points after that.
Stith scored 13 points and teammate Ahmad Caver had 10 to go with nine assists. Charles Bassey led WKU with 12 points, Josh Anderson scored 11 and Jared Savage had 10.
Western Kentucky C-USA Freshman of the Year Charles Bassey struggled in the first half but finished with a game-high 10 rebounds. . WKU made only 18 of 52 field goal attempts (35 percent). . the Hilltoppers finished with 20-plus wins for the 45th time in program history.
The Monarchs became the fifth C-USA team to win both the regular-season and tournament championship in the same season. ODU lost to Butler 60-58 in the first round of the 2011 tournament and has a 3-11 all-time record in NCAA Division I play. The Monarchs' last postseason berth came in 2016, when they were the Vegas 16 champions.