Blazers look to Dethrone the Kings of Norfolk
NORFOLK, Va. — The 2013-14 season was a year of firsts for the Old Dominion Monarchs. ODU was welcoming former American University head coach Jeff Jones to Norfolk, as well as beginning their inaugural season in Conference USA. Jones was afforded the opportunity after coach Blaine Taylor orchestrated the worst record in Old Dominion history, 5-25, in the 2012-13 season. Coach Taylor was relieved of his duties after their 22nd game in what would be his 12th and final season.
As a member of Conference USA, Old Dominion has recorded 54 wins and 33 loses. Last year, the Monarchs finished with 27 wins and advanced to the semi-finals of the NIT where they were defeated by eventual champion, Stanford.
The Monarchs expected last year’s success to carry over in to the 2015-16 season given that three of their five leading scorers were returning. Unfortunately, the season began with three players, Ambrose Mosley, Payton Pervier, and Zoran Talley, each serving a three game suspension. Most significant of the three was junior guard Mosley who led ODU with 63 made three-pointers last season. Mosley returned for just five games before being dismissed from the team indefinitely. In addition to the suspensions, The Monarchs also lost sophomore guard Brandan Stith to injury for six games in November and December.
Despite the setbacks, Coach Jones has begun to right the ship behind the leadership of his seasoned senior guard duo, Aaron Bacote and Trey Freeman. The pair accounted for 38 points in a 56-53 win in Ruston, La. this past Thursday. The victory ended La Tech’s then nation’s second longest 39 game home win streak. The Monarchs now have CUSA’s longest home win streak (32) and the nation’s fourth longest home win streak.
NCAA D1 Men’s Basketball Home Win Streaks (Through 1/16/16)
- Arizona – 47
- Wichita St – 39
- Kansas – 34
- Old Dominion – 32
- Villanova – 31
During their 32 game home win streak, the Monarchs average margin of victory is a staggering 15.78 points per game. Only one game has gone beyond regulation. Let’s take a look at four games that have highlighted the Monarch’s streak:
- November 18, 2014 — The Monarchs defeated in-state rival Richmond 63-57 for their sixth home win in a row.
- November 29, 2014 — ODU defeats an in-state rival once again with a win against Shaka Smart’s VCU squad. The 73-67 victory secured the seventh home win in a row for the Monarchs.
- February 21, 2015 — A dominating win against conference foe La Tech, 72-53, gave the Monarchs their 19th home win in a row. The victory over the Bulldogs was a sweet bookend to the last home defeat ODU had incurred, which was against La Tech on February 22, 2014.
- March 25, 2015 — The quarterfinals of the NIT matched ODU with visiting Murray State who was looking for their 30th win of the season. The Monarchs were able to win 72-69 on a Trey Freeman buzzer beater that you have to see to believe. The victory gave ODU their 24th home win in a row.
Monarchs hoping to extinguish red hot Blazers
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — You’ll have to look all the way back to Thanksgiving to find UAB’s last loss on their schedule. The Blazers participated in a two day tournament in Destin, Fla. with Iowa State, Virginia Tech, and Illinois. Coming into the Emerald Coast Classic, the Blazers had won three games and lost a one point battle to Auburn on the plains in their first game of the season. UAB would lose both games on the coast and squander their last chance to defeat a Power 5 team this regular season.
With turkey, dressing, and two disappointing losses in the rear-view mirror, Coach Jerod Haase’s squad focused in on their remaining seven games of non-conference play. Over the next 40 days, the Blazers strung together an impressive streak of 10 consecutive wins. The current streak is inching closer to the school’s best 13 game win streak achieved by Gene Bartow’s 1991-92 Blazer squad. It’s worth noting eleven of those games were won in the building named after the beloved coach himself.
UAB hasn’t achieved it’s current streak without multiple attempts to see it’s end from opponents. The Blazers have traveled away from Birmingham twice and have played two NCAA Tournament teams from last year. Let’s take a took at three games that have highlighted the 10 game win streak:
- December 5, 2015 — Coming off a win at home against Georgia St. to begin the streak, the Blazers traveled to Normal, Ill. to take on the Missouri Valley Conference’s Illinois State. UAB, down one at halftime, would use a 19-2 run in the second half to defeat the Redbirds 74-61 and secure their second win in a row.
- December 29, 2015 — Having won their last six games, the Blazers looked to end 2015 undefeated at home over the entire calendar year. UAB welcomed the Lumberjacks of Stephen F. Austin to Bartow Arena for an unusual 2:30 p.m. weekday tip. SFA jumped out early to a 31-13 lead only to see it evaporate via an 18-0 run by the Blazers that would leave the two teams tied at 31 going into the half. The second half was controlled late by UAB who prevailed victorious, 76-66, and extended their streak to seven games.
- January 3, 2016 — Much like the Stephen F. Austin game, UAB found themselves down double digits trailing the Blue Raiders 42-30 at halftime. The Blazers put together a 14-4 run to end the game and would go on to win 78-67 and secure their eighth win in a row.
Old Dominion and UAB have met 28 times on the hardwood. As CUSA members, the pair have met twice with both games taking place in Bartow Arena. The Blazers won both of those games and own a 19-9 record over the Monarchs. UAB visits The Ted in Norfolk, Va. for the first time since November 22, 2008 where they defeated ODU, 77-62.
When the Blazers and Monarchs meet this Thursday at the Ted one thing is for sure, one of these streaks will come to an end.