Monarchs Top Blue Hens

March 3, 2012   ·   0 Comments

Photo Credit: Jake McLernon

by Cody Norman

Old Dominion 88, Delaware 74

Old Dominion is still the rightful owner to the throne.

For two consecutive seasons, coach Blaine Taylor has guided the Monarchs as they have marched their way through Colonial Athletic Association Tournament, claiming the title and the conference’s only automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.

And Old Dominion is right on track to do it again.

“[Delaware] really put their best foot forward today,” Taylor said. “But so did my guys.”

Despite the team’s youth, Defensive Player of the Year Kent Bazemore led the Monarchs into the tournament ranked fourth in the conference and earned Taylor and his team a first-round bye.

“I’m just starting to get my legs back from an offseason injury,” Bazemore said. “This is the most confident I’ve been this year and I’m just trying to leave it all on the line.”

Bazemore, who was coming off a 37-point eruption against Drexel last week, scored 24 points and handed out four assists for the Monarchs as Old Dominion advanced to the semifinals where they will challenge the Dragons for their chance at a third consecutive championship.

“Our practice yesterday was really rough,” Bazemore said. “We were trying to work off the cobwebs and I think that flowed into today. We looked really good out there today.”

Taylor added: “All the things you saw today got surfaced out in practice this week. We took a lot of things from practice and put it into practice.”

As a team, the Monarchs were 9-for-20 from the 3-point line and shot a combined 48.6 percent from the field.

Following Bazemore’s lead, guards Marquel De Lancey and Donte Hill shot lights out. The backcourt tandem shot a combined 9-for-18 from the floor, scoring 22 points and dishing out six assists. Nick Wright knocked down four of his nine attempts, scoring 12 points in the victory.

“I hit a lot of rhythm shots,” Hill said. “It was a lot of things that we work on a lot in practice and I was feeling pretty good today.”

Chris Cooper, who was faced with the task of containing Delaware’s Jamelle Hagins, scored 13 points and snatched down eight rebounds.

As one of the veteran players on Taylor’s roster, Cooper knows what it takes to regain the crown. And, after the final buzzer, the senior forward ran through the tunnel, slapping hands with fans and yelling, “Two more, guys. Two more games.”

And those “two more games” will begin on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. as they take on the top-seeded Drexel Dragons.

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