NORFOLK (WAVY) – A less-than-pleased Jeff Jones sent a clear challenge to his team on Thursday night, saying Old Dominion was “soft” after a two-point home loss to Arkansas State.
His Monarchs responded in a pretty big way on Saturday with a 70-66 upset win over Louisiana (10-4, 0-2 Sun Belt), the preseason favorite to win the Sun Belt regular season championship, before 5,094 at Chartway Arena. ODU was picked to finish ninth.
Tyreek Scott-Grayson led the way with a game-high 17 points, which included a three-point basket as the shot clock expired, and a circus fast-break layup with 1:15 left to play.
Chaunce Jenkins scored 12 points off the bench, and Faizon Fields and D’Angelo Stines had 11 each. The Monarchs’ bench outscored the Ragin’ Cajuns 34-13.
“I think we definitely responded,” Stines said of his coach’s critique. “We didn’t like that at all. I think we’re far from soft, actually, but him saying that was motivation. He knows what we’re capable of. We know what we’re capable of, but we’ve got to show that every night.”
Jones said the Monarchs played physically and were relentless at times getting after the ball.
“Obviously, we needed every little bit to hang on,” Jones said.
ODU led by as many as 22 points in the second half, but Louisiana made it a one-possession game late. The Monarchs, however, were able to hold on.
The Monarchs (9-5, 1-1) are on the road for the next two games; at Troy Thursday and at Georgia Southern Jan. 7.