Second-half run sends Old Dominion past UTSA, 69-61
NORFOLK, Va. — UTSA held a one-point halftime lead, but Old Dominion went on a 15-0 spurt early in the second half and withstood a late charge for a 69-61 win on Thursday night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center.
Edrico McGregor led the Roadrunners (7-14, 3-5 C-USA) with 12 points and nine rebounds, while Devon Agusi and Phillip Jones chipped in with 10 points apiece. Agusi added five assists and three steals, while Jones hit his first 3-pointer and collected a season-high five steals.
UTSA shot 39.2 percent for the contest, including 47.8 percent in the second half, and collected 10 steals.
Meanwhile, Aaron Bacote scored a game-high 22 points to lead the Monarchs (11-12, 5-3 C-USA). The sophomore hit five shots and connected on 11-of-13 free throws, while Keenan Palmore added 16 points and Jordan Baker came off the bench to chip in 13.
The Monarchs shot 43.5 percent on the night, held a 36-31 edge on the glass and scored 23 points off 16 UTSA turnovers.
McGregor answered a Palmore bucket to start the contest, which had a back-and-forth feel early.
Moments later, Hyjii Thomas drove in for a layup that pulled the Roadrunners within a basket, 9-7, before the Monarchs gained some separation with an 11-4 run. The spurt, which started on Baker’s 3-pointer, pushed the Old Dominion advantage to 20-11, which was its largest of the half.
But the Roadrunners put together a run of their own and grabbed a 25-24 halftime lead by outscoring the Monarchs 14-4 in the final seven minutes of the period.
Like Old Dominion’s run, UTSA got its offense started when James Williams hit a long 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down. Devon Agusi then found Jones inside for a layup before Thomas hit a free throw after drawing a foul near the bucket.
McGregor then added a shot in the lane and Jones hit two free throws to trim the deficit to 22-21 with 3:11 to go in the stanza. Palmore briefly slowed the momentum with a jumper in the lane, but it would prove to be the home squad’s final points of the half as a bucket from Williams and two more freebies by Jones gave UTSA its first lead of the contest.
Keon Lewis opened the second half with a 17-foot jumper before Old Dominion took control with its 15-0 run.
After clogging the lanes in the final seven minutes of the first half, UTSA was unable to stop the Monarchs inside as they scored eight points in the paint during the stretch. When the dust had settled, Old Dominion had a 39-27 lead and would not trail again.
Old Dominion led by as many as 16 in the second half before UTSA made a charge with a 14-5 run to pull within seven, 60-53.
McGregor started the run with a pair of free throws before Jordan Sims hit his third 3-pointer of the night. Following a Bacote layup, Thomas connected from behind the arc and Lewis buried a jumper and then fed Agusi for a layup.
With three-and-a-half minutes to play UTSA began to foul and put Old Dominion, who came into the game shooting 60 percent at the charity stripe this season, on the free throw line. The strategy paid off with five misses from the Monarchs down the stretch, but the Roadrunners could not make enough shots down the stretch to complete the comeback.
Jones hit the first 3-pointer of his career with 51 seconds to go and Agusi’s layup with 20 ticks left made it 67-61, but that would be as close as the visitors would get.
The Roadrunners will be back in action for a 4 p.m. (CT) game on Saturday at East Carolina (12-10, 1-6 C-USA).