Old Dominion starts strong and holds on against Florida International

David Hall, The Virginian-Pilot

Malik Curry scored 27 points and Old Dominion kept its cool down the stretch Saturday in a 71-66 Conference USA win over Florida International at Ocean Bank Convocation Center in Miami.

The Monarchs (5-3, 1-1 C-USA) made nine straight free throws in the final 1:53 to keep FIU (7-3, 1-1) at arm’s length after a comeback.

ODU led by as many as 13 points in the second half before the Panthers roared back to twice take a one-point lead.

A.J. Oliver’s clutch 3-pointer from the top of the key gave the Monarchs a 65-61 lead with 38 seconds left, and FIU was left to foul.

Radshad Davis scored 18 points for the Panthers, who were held to 39.7% shooting and made 8 of 31 from 3-point range.

The victory, part of a two-game series, followed Friday’s 82-67 loss.

The Monarchs used a pair of 9-0 spurts, holding FIU without a field goal for stretches of 4 1/4 u00bd and 3 1/4 u00bd minutes, to build a 28-17 lead with just over five minutes left in the first half.

ODU, using a constantly changing zone defense, led by as many as 13 before taking a 33-22 into halftime.

The Monarchs made 4 of 10 from 3-point range, including a 4-for-7 start, in the half.