1.) Since I’m in cliché mode the last couple days, that was the tale of two halves (BOOOO). The Flying Dutchmen looked ready to blow Old Dominion out of the building in taking a 12-0 lead, but the Monarchs chipped away and ended the half on a 21-7 run to take a 29-27 lead. This is an ODU-friendly pace and the Monarchs have to be thrilled to be winning a game in which they committed nine turnovers.
2.) It’s not a coincidence Old Dominion outscored the Dutchmen 12-2 once Greg Washington went to the bench with his third foul just after the under-four media timeout. Washington blocked ODU’s first three shots, and while the Monarchs have their usual rebounding advantage (28-13), the aggressiveness of Washington, David Imes and Stephen Nwaukoni on defense has at least handcuffed ODU a bit. The Dutchmen don’t have the bodies to survive attrition via foul trouble, so Washington is going to have to play carefully in the second half.
3.) And while the Dutchmen have been aggressive, Old Dominion is still getting way too many second chances—11 offensive rebounds against just nine defensive boards for the Dutchmen. The Monarchs are tough to beat when they’re taking advantage of those extra opportunities.
4.) Stay fundamentally sound: The Dutchmen need to continue forcing turnovers, to continue taking care of the ball when they’re on offense (just two turnovers in the first half) and continue the fine ball distribution they displayed during the game-opening run.
5.) The Dutchmen went cold at the end of the first half. It seemed to be as much a matter of bad luck as tough defense by ODU. If the shots start falling, and Charles Jenkins (4-of-8 shooting, nine points) has his patented second half run, and Imes (0-for-5) or Brad Kelleher (0-for-2) finds their touch, my guess is the Dutchmen are pretty happy at 6 pm.