East Carolina falls to Old Dominion, 81-70 - WNCN: News, Weather

East Carolina falls to Old Dominion, 81-70

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GREENVILLE, N.C. -

Paris Roberts-Campbell was one of four East Carolina double-figure scorers in an 81-70 loss to Old Dominion as both teams opened Conference USA play Saturday evening inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.

Roberts-Campbell scored 19 of his of his team-high 21 points in the first half, but missed a significant portion of the second half with persistent cramping in his left leg. Akeem Richmond added 14 points, Petar Torlak contributed a career-high 12 off the bench and Michael Zangari added 11.

The first half was a true back-and-forth affair from the opening tip, as the period saw 10 ties and nine lead changes, while neither side led by more than four points. The Pirates' four-point edge came after a 3-pointer out of the hand of Torlak with 9:28 to go, his first of a career-high four connections from 3-point range in the game.

Despite several scoring exchanges from both sides over the final nine-plus minutes of the half, Roberts-Campbell finished off a three-point play with 1:48 left in the half to put East Carolina (11-5, 0-1) ahead 35-32, but the Monarchs knotted the score at 37 by the sound of the halftime buzzer.

Old Dominion (7-9, 1-0) broke the halftime draw with a 6-0 run just 80 seconds out of the break and never looked back, leading the entire second half. The Monarchs produced their first double-digit lead of the night with the score 63-52 and 10:35 remaining in the game.

Seeing his first game action since the team's 84-71 win over North Carolina A&T on Dec. 14, Torlak sandwiched a Monarch 3-pointer with back-to-back conversions of his own, cutting the Pirates' deficit to seven, 67-60, with 6:43 to go.

ODU responded with a 7-0 run, generating its largest lead of the night at 14 with just under five minutes remaining and held on for the victory.

East Carolina finished the game 22-of-55 (.400) from the field, 10-of-29 (.345) from downtown and 16-of-24 (.667) from the free throw line, as Old Dominion shot 31-of-55 (.564) overall, 5-of-13 (.385) from three and 14-of-18 (.778) at the foul line.

ODU more than doubled ECU's points in the paint, 50-24, despite losing the turnover battle, 10-7. The Monarchs also won the rebounding battle, 36-29.

Keenan Palmore led the Monarchs with 23 points on 11-of-13 shooting, while Aaron Bacote chipped in 18 with six assists and made all eight of his free throw attempts.

The Pirates will head to Florida for its first two conference road games of the year when they face Florida Atlantic next Thursday, Jan. 16 at 7 p.m., before meeting FIU on Saturday, Jan. 18 at 5 p.m.

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