NORFOLK (ODU) — Malik Curry paced five Monarchs in double-figures with 18 points, but the Old Dominion men’s basketball team (7-13, 3-4 C-USA) fell short to FIU (14-6, 5-2 C-USA) by an 83-80 score on Thursday night at Chartway Arena. Florida International went 15-34 (44.1%) from three-point range for the contest.
With 14:17 to play, ODU led 55-46, only before the Panthers answered on a 22-10 run to claim a 68-65 advantage with 6:02 left. Curry later cut the Monarchs deficit to one, 79-78, with 31 second remaining in regulation. Trejon Jacob went down and connected on both if his free-throws, extending FIU’s lead back to three, 81-78, at the 19-second mark. Curry answered back with a layup, again making it a one-point ballgame, 81-80, with 13 seconds left to play.
Antonio Daye Jr. drained both of his attempts from the charity stripe, stretching Florida international’s lead back to three (83-80) with just 11 seconds remaining. A.J. Oliver II got a look from three-point range, but the attempt was off, as the Panthers escaped Norfolk with a three-point victory on Thursday night.
“We didn’t lose that game, FIU beat us,” said ODU head coach Jeff Jones. “I guess what I am trying to say by phrasing it that way is I thought we played pretty well. I know dang well that we played very hard and really gutted it out. FIU just played better; they made big shots, they made tough shots.”
Along with Curry’s team-high 18 points, he finished with five assists, three rebounds and one steal. Kalu Ezikpe turned in a career-high 15 points, to go along with seven rebounds, two steals and one block in 27 minutes of work.
Joe Reece finished with career-highs for points (14) and rebounds (7). Oliver II also recorded 14 points to compliment three rebounds and one steal. Also in double-figures for Old Dominion was Xavier Green, who went for 11 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and one steal.
The Panthers claimed a 39-35 lead at the half after shooting 8-21 from deep. The Monarchs were led by Ezikpe’s 11 points and five rebounds. Curry chipped in nine points, while Reece followed with six points and four boards. ODU held a 22-10 advantage for points in the paint in the opening 20 minutes.
In the first half, forward Jason Wade left the game with a right knee injury and was scheduled to have an MRI with results coming on Friday.
ODU hosts Florida Atlantic on Saturday.