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Old Dominion aims to get on same page vs. Va. Tech

Sportsnaut
Mar 21, 2019; Hartford, CT, USA; Old Dominion Monarchs head coach Jeff Jones watches a play against the Purdue Boilermakers during the first half of a game in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at XL Center. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Old Dominion coach Jeff Jones looks for more intelligent play from his team on Thursday when it faces Virginia Tech in the first round of the Charleston Classic in Charleston, S.C.

Jones’ exasperation was evident on Monday night after the Monarchs (2-1) struggled to put away Division III Virginia Wesleyan in a 72-58 victory.

“I can’t fault our effort. Our effort has been outstanding,” Jones said. “But we have to help ourselves by playing smarter and having all five players on the same page.”

Meanwhile, Virginia Tech (3-0) has had no such questions thus far. The Hokies have shown discipline and cohesion in dominating three mid-major foes.

They are shooting 54.5 percent from the floor and 44.9 percent from beyond the arc while committing just 7.3 turnovers per game.

While the offense has been remarkably efficient, Virginia Tech coach Mike Young still has concerns about his team’s defense and rebounding.

“We’re gonna take a step up here in competition, starting with Old Dominion,” Young said on Sunday night after a 94-77 win over William & Mary. “(Old Dominion) had 33 offensive rebounds in their first two games. That is still a question mark for this team.”

The winner of the Tech-ODU quarterfinal will play Penn State (3-0) or Furman (2-0). On the other side of the bracket are South Carolina (2-0), Colorado State (3-0), Davidson (3-0) and host College of Charleston (2-1).

Old Dominion has been paced by Xavier transfer Ben Stanley, who is averaging a team-high 17.3 points per game, and Northeastern transfer Tyreek Scott-Grayson, who is averaging 11 points and eight rebounds per game. Mekhi Long has contributed 10.3 points and a team-high 9.3 rebounds per contest.

Virginia Tech answers with point guard Sean Pedulla, who is averaging 20.0 points per game and hitting 50 percent of his 3-point attempts.

Grant Basile is scoring at an 18 point-per-game clip and hitting 55.6 percent from beyond the arc.

This will be the first time Tech and Old Dominion meet outside of Virginia and their first matchup since 2007. The Hokies lead the series 14-10 but the Monarchs have won four of the last five meetings.

–Field Level Media