Old Dominion edges Illinois State for 23rd straight home win
NORFOLK, Va. (AP) Jonathan Arledge made the go-ahead layup with 19 seconds to play, and Old Dominion held off Illinois State 50-49 on Monday in the second round of the NIT for its 23rd straight win at home.
It's the seventh-longest active home winning streak in the country.
Illinois State's MiKyle McIntosh missed two free throws with 4.3 seconds left. ODU's Ambrose Mosley then missed the front end of a 1-and-1, but the Redbirds, trying a length of the court pass with two seconds left, turned it over on their final play.
''There's a reason they're 23-0 at home; the fans, the team plays with confidence and toughness,'' said Illinois State coach Dan Muller. ''It was a tough place to play, but we've been in situations like that.''
The top-seeded Monarchs (26-7) advance to host Murray State on Wednesday.
''The atmosphere was great, with the crowd being that loud, it's tough to make those regardless of how you shoot,'' said ODU's Aaron Bacote, who had eight points.
Arledge had 10 points for the Monarchs and reserve guard Keenan Palmore scored a season-high 11, with nine rebounds, subbing for starter and leading scorer Trey Freeman (17.3 points per game).
''I just wanted to prepare for the worst and hope for the best,'' said Palmore, who started last year as Freeman sat out a transfer year. ''If Trey played, then great, but I needed to be ready no matter what.''
Freeman played only 12 minutes due to an ankle injury suffered in practice.
''Really proud of our guys for that effort, not knowing whether Trey would play at all, whether he'd play five minutes or 25 minutes,'' said ODU coach Jeff Jones. ''Illinois State comes at you hard. If you're afraid or hesitant in the least, they'll knock you back really quickly.''
Illinois State (22-13) handed ODU its worst loss of the season, 64-45, in November in the Virgin Islands, vexing the Monarchs with different zone defense looks.
''Our guys were excited to play, they knew we got our hats handed to us in St. Thomas,'' Jones said. ''It wasn't pretty, but it was two good basketball teams playing really, really hard.''
Both teams shot below 40 percent from the field and under 50 percent from the free throw line.
ODU made their first three 3-pointers to bolt to an 11-point lead and the Monarchs held a 27-22 advantage at halftime.
The Monarchs led almost the entire way until Daishon Knight's jumper with 1:17 to play tied it at 46. The teams traded the lead over the next minute before Arledge hit what proved to be the game-winner.