Old Dominion was sharp on Thursday night as they easily defeated Division II member Mount Olive 102-65. The ODU guards gave head coach Blaine Taylor a promising sign for future games to come. Junior guard and co-captain Donte Hill led the Monarchs with 22 points on an efficient 9-for-11 shooting. Assisting Hill with the scoring load were guards Dimitri Batten and Aaron Bacote who finished with 17 and 20 points respectively.
Taylor wanted to see how his talented freshman guards would perform outside the practice court and the youngsters responded in a big way. Bacote was nearly perfect, scoring his 20 points on 7-for-8 shooting and adding five assists. Freshman point guard Keenan Palmore played a team-high 27 minutes and filled the stat sheet when he was on the floor. He scored seven points and led the team with eight assists. Freshman Deion Clark added nine points with three rebounds.
The Monarchs were too hot to handle offensively. They shot 66 percent from the field and a blazing 53 percent from behind the 3-point line. Ten of the 11 players who saw action scored at least one basket. The hot shooting helped ODU build a 53-31 lead at the end of the first half.
Defensively, ODU was strong as they held Mount Olive to just 31 percent shooting from the field including an abysmal 28 percent in the second half. The Monarchs showed a collective effort on the boards as they outrebounded the Trojans 51-32. The guards were pressuring the ball and forced 12 turnovers.
One of the more impressive stats of the night was how well the ODU guards rebounded. Batten led the team with nine rebounds followed by Palmore with eight. Taylor’s guards accounted for over half of the team’s total rebounds. This is a stat dominated by ODU big men in the past, but this season looks to be guard-centric in all accounts.
ODU and it’s litany of guards look to build on their near-flawless effort as they host Virginia State on Monday for their final tuneup before the regular season starts.