No. 25 Old Dominion beats Marshall 72-51 in rankings debut
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) Once No. 25 Old Dominion settled down, it sparkled in its debut as a ranked team.
Jonathan Arledge scored 13 points to lead the Monarchs to a 72-51 win over Marshall on Thursday night.
Old Dominion (13-1, 2-0 Conference USA) won its 10th straight game to continue its best start since moving to Division I in the 1976-77 season.
Trey Freeman and Jordan Baker added 11 points apiece for the Monarchs.
Austin Loop scored 15 points and Jay Johnson and Ryan Taylor had 13 apiece for Marshall (4-11, 0-2).
Old Dominion coach Jeff Jones said he didn't sense any signs of nervousness from his players after entering The Associated Press rankings for the first time this week.
His players, though, said the jitters were definitely there on the court.
''I feel like it was a lot of pressure,'' Baker said. ''The second half, we handled it better than the first half. Warming up, we were stiff and not energetic. We came out the second half - unlike the first half - with some energy and urgency and we just got it done.''
The Monarchs are tied for eighth nationally in scoring defense at 55 points per game and got another solid effort against the Thundering Herd, holding Marshall to 37 percent (17 of 46) shooting and forcing 22 turnovers.
Old Dominion took control with a 9-0 run late in the first half, and Arledge finished with three straight baskets to put the Monarchs ahead 35-25 at halftime.
Old Dominion kept its double-digit lead throughout the second half. Marshall failed to make a basket over a six-minute stretch spanning both halves, and the Monarchs' Ambrose Mosley hit a 3-pointer to finish a 16-4 run for a 60-35 lead with 10:15 left in the game.
The Monarchs, who average 11 turnovers per game, committed 13 in the first half but had just four the rest of the game.
Ten different players scored for Old Dominion.
''I feel like we just picked up our urgency on defense and were more patient on offense,'' Arledge said. ''In the second half we were able to calm down, get our feet under ourselves and play with some more urgency on defense. It started with defense.''
Old Dominion: The Monarchs had previously flirted with the AP poll in 1993 after a 5-0 start. Their lone blemish this season was a 19-point loss to Illinois State in the championship game of the Paradise Jam tournament in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Marshall: The Thundering Herd got points from only five players and have lost five straight under first-year coach Dan D'Antoni.
''As a team, we have too many mental breakdowns right now,'' Johnson said. ''Everything is mental right now. It's in our heads.''
Transfers have helped transform Old Dominion from an 18-18 team a year ago. Freeman arrived from Campbell and leads the Monarchs in scoring at 16.4 points per game. Arledge, formerly of George Mason, is averaging 7.1 points and 5.5 rebounds. Junior college transfer Jonathan Douglas is contributing five points and three rebounds per game off the bench.
Marshall held a moment of silence before the game for university president Stephen Kopp, who died Dec. 17 at age 63. Marshall was playing its first home game since Kopp's death. Kopp had attended every Marshall game and had a seat next to the team's bench.
A public memorial service for Kopp will be held in the arena on Tuesday.
Old Dominion: Plays at Western Kentucky on Saturday.
Marshall: Hosts Charlotte on Saturday.