Monarchs Stunned by Late-Game Heroics in 67-66 Defeat against Coastal Carolina

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Elena Harris

Sophomore guard Chaunce Jenkins #2 finds a lane and attacks the basket in the second half.

Benjamin Draper, Sports Editor

As the game wound down into the final seconds, it seemed that Old Dominion was going to secure a victory over the Chanticleers. But with 1.4 seconds left on the clock, Coastal Carolina seized their opportunity to steal one away from the Monarchs. Linton Brown went to the line and crushed the hopes of over 6,000 ODU fans on hand as he gave the Chanticleers the 67-66 lead. Senior Guard Tyreek Scott-Grayson heaved a shot up from half-court, but it was off the mark, and the Chanticleers came roaring off the bench in celebration of their clutch comeback. 

Junior guard Mekhi Long #0 shows off his strength as he throws down a powerful slam dunk. (Elena Harris )

This ODU squad was coming off an 81-75 victory over Georgia Southern last weekend, but they lost sophomore guard Imo Essien in the process. Just seven minutes into the contest, Essien collapsed on the floor struggling to breathe. Thankfully, he was able to walk off the court. Essien will not see any action for the next two weeks due to precautionary measures and medical testing. 

In the first few minutes of the game, the Monarchs had the early advantage of 10-4, but the Chanticleers retaliated with a three-pointer, as well as forcing a turnover on the ensuing possession that eventually brought the deficit to within one. Junior guard Mekhi Long made his presence felt on the next Coastal possession as he got the steal and waltzed his way to a powerful two-handed slam that brought a roar out of Chartway. The next few minutes of the first half were a battle on both ends of the court as Coastal led 16-13.  

Sophomore guard Chaunce Jenkins was fouled on his three-point attempt and went on to convert 2-3 free throws to make it 16-15. The Monarchs’ offense found a spark and wound up with an 11-point scoring run that gave them the 24-16 advantage. The Chanticleers eventually tallied another three-pointer to cut the deficit to five points, but Jenkins scored another layup after the missed free throw to maintain some distance. After a Coastal miss, junior guard Jason Wade earned his first bucket of the evening to give ODU a 28-22 advantage. In the closing seconds of the half, Coastal Carolina drained another shot from beyond the arc and went into the half down only 28-25. 

Coming out of the second half, Long got the scoring started with his short-range shot, but Coastal answered right back and the score became 30-27. On the ensuing Monarch possession, Scott-Grayson managed to nail a step-back shot to increase the lead by five, but Long brought some noise out of the crowd with another powerful slam dunk, which gave ODU the 34-27 lead. Senior forward Ben Stanley scored the next four points for ODU to maintain the lead as the Monarchs led 38-29. The Chanticleers answered with another three-pointer to bring the game within six, but sophomore guard D’Angelo Stines retaliated with a three of his own. 

Senior guard Tyreek Scott-Grayson finds some open space and throws up the three-point shot. (Elena Harris )

Halfway through the second half, the Monarchs held a 47-35 lead over the Chanticleers. On the ensuing CCU possession, they cut into the deficit with another three-pointer. Scott-Grayson returned the favor with another shot made from beyond the arc as ODU led 50-38. Coming out of the timeout, Coastal nailed another three-pointer as they slowly fought their way back into the ballgame. While the Monarchs led 55-47, the Chants again drained another three-pointer, bringing the game within five points. As time dwindled down into the final minutes, the momentum slowly began to shift the other way.

With a minute left in the contest, the Monarchs had a 63-59 advantage before Jenkins tallied two more points from the free-throw line. On the next Coastal possession, Brown got the layup for his team and brought the game within four points. Off the inbound, Stines was fouled and went to the line, but he only made 1-2 free throws to make it 66-62. Coastal scored with a quick layup to make it a one-possession game. ODU would then inbound the ball. Sophomore forward Faizon Fields was at the foul line to try and maintain their lead, but he wound up missing both shots, which gave Coastal their opportunity to win. 

The Chanticleers put the game into Brown’s hands as he was open in the corner and went up for the three-pointer, but it was off the mark. The ODU team began to run off the court in celebration, thinking they had won, but that was not the case. A foul was called on Scott-Grayson. After seeing the replay, it seemed to be a soft call on the referee’s part, but it remained a foul, much to the crowd’s displeasure. Brown then set foot on the foul line and swished all three free-throws to give Coastal the 67-66 lead. The Monarchs called a timeout to develop a last-ditch effort, but Scott-Grayson’s shot did not fall and ODU lost in a stunning and heartbreaking fashion.

With Essien’s absence, Jenkins had to step up and play all 40 minutes of the game while leading the way for ODU with 15 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Long finished the evening with 14 points and 11 rebounds, while Scott-Grayson tallied 12 points and four rebounds. With this loss, the Monarchs are now 10-7 (2-3 Sun Belt). 

Sophomore guard D’Angelo Stines goes up for the tough layup with multiple Coastal defenders surrounding him. (Elena Harris )

After the game, head coach Jeff Jones shared his thoughts on how his team let one get away from them and the fact that they gave Coastal every opportunity to get back into the ballgame.

“Tonight is a great example of if you don’t finish, if you continue to give a good team opportunities, it can bite you in the rear end,” Jones said. “Missed free throws, not rebounding at the other end. We just gave Coastal too many chances. It never should have come down to an official’s call at the end.”

Next up for the Monarchs is a trip to Huntsville, West Virginia, where they will meet Marshall this evening with tip-off slated for 7 p.m.. The Herd are coming off a quality victory over Southern Miss this past Thursday evening and have a 14-4 (3-2 Sun Belt) record. The Monarchs are hoping to overcome the adversity from Thursday and get back into the win column.