Monarchs Start off 2022 With Dominant Victory over UTSA 83-51

Photo Courtesy of Nicholas Clark, taken from ODU v UTSA

By Benjamin Draper, Sports Editor

For the first time of 2022, the Monarchs Basketball team returned to action as Conference play is on the schedule from here on out. Old Dominion 6-8(1-0 C-USA) welcomed the Texas San-Antonio Roadrunners 7-9(0-3 C-USA) in the first game back on the court from a two-week absence. The last time ODU played was on Dec. 30 when they defeated Florida International on the road before the next two games against FAU and Charlotte were postponed due to COVID-19.


It was the first home game of 2022 for the fans and student body to show up and support their team with over 4,600 in attendance. Junior Austin Trice opened up the evening with the first six points in the game with a few layups and a jump shot from the key that put the Monarchs up to an early 6-0 advantage. Senior C.J. Keyser gave the Monarchs a 9-2 lead after hitting one of his free throws and a jump shot. After another slow possession from the Roadrunners, sophomore Jaylin Hunter goes down court and drills a 3-pointer to make the game 12-2 ODU. UTSA had to call a timeout to regroup after starting the matchup 0-5 from the field.


After the timeout, Trice got on the board again with another two-points off a layup. On the next offensive possession, Keyser made a dazzling layup that extended the Monarchs scoring run to nine points, as ODU led 16-2. The Roadrunners would begin to find a little rhythm and go on a quick six-point run to cut into the deficit 16-8 ODU. Keyser shut down the little momentum coming back down the floor to the top of the key and sank a mid-range jump shot to bring the lead back to ten. Off another UTSA turnover, sophomore Mekhi Long brought the arena to its feet with a two handed slam off a fast break. The game went back and forth the rest of the half and would end with Trice hitting his jump shot to give the Monarchs a 33-21 advantage going into the break.


To start the second half, UTSA got down the court and scored early on and trimmed the margin to 10. In the next few minutes of the half, the Old Dominion offensive began to pull away and Trice would bring the crowd to its feet again with a powerful slam that increased the Monarch lead to 56-31. In a span of seven minutes, ODU outscored the Roadrunners 16-2 and the margin was 28 points. Keyser would tally four more points later in the half to keep the game out of reach.


With under five minutes left in the matchup, the score stood at 67-39 in ODU’s favor. Both teams would continue hitting shots. The Monarchs kept their foot on the gas as Hunter drained his fourth 3-pointer of the night to make it 71-41 ODU. After multiple subs were made, both teams played hard in the final few minutes. Both teams went back and forth and the game would end with Old Dominion winning 81-53 and start 2022 off with a win.


After the game, Head Coach Jeff Jones mentioned the situations both teams have had to face recently with COVID-19. “We played a team that had more issues in terms of fielding a team.” He would go on to talk about Trice’s performance lately for the Monarchs, “Austin is playing the best basketball of his career. He has been really really good for us for about five games.”


The Monarchs completed 62 percent of its shots with 40 points coming from in the paint. Trice finished the night with 19 points. Hunter scored 16 points and had seven assists in the victory. Keyser finished the game with 16 points and two assists and rebounds. Long racked up eight points with two steals in the matchup. Old Dominion now stands atop the East Division of Conference USA with its 2-0 record.


Old Dominion moves to 7-8(2-0 C-USA) and will be welcoming another Lone Star foe into Norfolk when they face Texas El-Paso on Saturday, Jan. 15. The Miners are 8-8(1-3 C-USA) with Tip-off scheduled for 7pm.