NORFOLK, Va. (Release via ODU Athletics) – With a ton of newcomers and only one starter returning from last season, the Old Dominion men’s basketball team nonetheless played with remarkable cohesiveness in its first outing Wednesday.

The Monarchs rolled past Christopher Newport, 77-58, in an exhibition game at Chartway Arena in which the outcome was never in doubt.

Ben Stanley, a 6-foot-7 transfer from Xavier and who began his career at Hampton, led ODU with 18 points and seven rebounds, and he was just one of many who impressed with their athleticism.

Dericko Williams, a 6-7 transfer from Tallahassee Community College, scored 13 points, and Chaunce Jenkins, a 6-4 transfer from Wichita State, came off the bench to score 10 points.

Coach Jeff Jones lauded his players for playing hard throughout the game and for outrebounding the Captains, 51-33.

But when asked his assessment of his team’s play, “I think it would be a mixed review.”

“I think we did a bunch of good stuff, particularly our defense. We were able to get out in transition and get some easy buckets.

“But we had too many turnovers (17) and made some bad decisions. We’ve got some guys that are working hard, but they’ve got to understand what they can and cannot do on a regular basis.”

Referring to his college days when he was the point guard at the University of Virginia, he said “I played with Ralph Sampson, but I couldn’t do what Ralph Sampson did.”

“We have some guys trying to make the spectacular play every time down the court . . . Not everyone can be Michael Jordan.”

Jones started three transfers – wing guard Tyreek Scott-Grayson, a transfer from Northeastern who had 11 points and three steals, in addition to Stanley and Williams.

Mekhi Long, the only returning starter, led ODU with 12 rebounds, had nine rebounds and, as usual, may have led the team in hustle. Imo Essien, a sophomore returnee, started at point guard and Jones said he ran the offense efficiently.

Jones and his staff hit the transfer portal hard after a disappointing 13-19 record last season and has been working since the summer began to meld seven newcomers and returnees.

It is still a work in progress, he said.

Although ODU won handily, CNU continued to contest every loose ball until the game ended. CNU was 27-3 last season and advanced to the Elite Eight of the Division III NCAA Tournament.

Captains’ coach John Krikorian has a 233-56 record over 10 seasons.

“They’ve got an established program and they have a lot of pride,” Jones said. “They continued scrapping until the end of the game. This was a good game for us because they competed all 40 minutes.”

ODU led 42-25 at the half and expanded the lead to 25 points on a 3-point shot from Jenkins four minutes into the second half.

The crowd of 4,649, surprisingly large for an exhibition, let out its loudest cheer with 9:22 left in the second half when Jason Wade made his first appearance at Chartway Arena in nearly three years.

The 6-4 Richmond native was ODU’s best player in 2019-2020 when he went down with a torn ACL. The following year he suffered a torn Achilles Tendon and did not play.

He’s only been back on the basketball court since the early summer, and after drawing a standing ovation, put in a layup over a defender with 6:51 left, then picked off a steal and made a fast-break layup with 6:34 left.

“That was an exciting moment obviously for the fans and his teammates,” Jones said. “I wasn’t thinking about it in those terms until I heard the fans react.

“He made some nice plays and gave us a spark.”

The Monarchs open the regular season Monday at home against Maryland-Eastern Shore at 7 p.m.