GAME NOTES: The 2014 College Basketball Invitational soldiers on with the semifinals, the nightcap of which features the Old Dominion Monarchs paying a visit to the Fresno State Bulldogs.
The winner advances to the CBI Championship Series to challenge the winner of the Illinois State/Siena semifinal matchup, also being played this evening. The best-of-three final series begins next Monday.
Old Dominion has taken down both South Dakota State (72-65) and Radford (82-59) to earn its trip to the semifinals, and improve its record this season to 18-17 and its all-time mark in the CBI to 3-1. The Monarchs played in the very first CBI back in 2008, and would love to make first-year head coach Jeff Jones a tournament winner as the team completes its first campaign as a member of Conference USA.
Fresno State's road to the semifinals was achieved by knocking off UTEP (61-56) and Princeton (72-56) in succession, and the team has won four of its last five and 11 of its last 14 games overall. The Bulldogs, who are appearing in their first CBI, are in their first final four of a postseason tourney since 1998, and for only the third time in school history.
These two schools have never previously met in men's basketball.
Richard Ross scored a career-high 23 points to go with 10 rebounds, and four others reached double figures in the scoring column as well, as ODU easily dispatched with Radford on Monday night. Ambrose Mosley was the second-highest scorer with 15 points off the bench, thanks to his 3-of-6 effort from beyond the arc, the team as a whole going 6-of-17 from 3-point range in the game. The Monarchs shot 51.8 percent from the field overall, while holding the Highlanders to just 37 percent. A massive 44-29 edge in rebounding certainly helped ODU's cause, as did a 46-33 advantage in points in the paint.
Dimitri Batten and Mosley paced the Monarchs in the tournament-opening win over South Dakota State with 18 and 16 points, respectively, and they are two of the team's three double-digit scorers on the season. Aaron Bacote, who tallied 10 points in each of the first two games of this event, leads the way with 15.7 ppg for an ODU squad that averages nearly the same number of points (64.2 ppg) as it allows (64.3 ppg).
Fresno State put the clamps on the Princeton Tigers on Monday night, limiting the visitors to 31.7 percent field goal efficiency. Conversely, the Bulldogs made good on 47.5 percent of their total shots, while draining 6-of-13 3-point attempts. Tyler Johnson was high man in the game with 23 points, as he shot 10-of-17 from the floor, while Cezar Guerrero tacked on 15 points and Paul Watson had 13. That trio also combined to grab 18 of the team's 40 rebounds.
Guerrero led all scorers in the first game against UTEP, logging a double- double consisting of 19 points and 10 rebounds. The Bulldogs shot just 40.7 percent from the field in that bout, but held the Miners to 35.3 percent. Johnson paces the team on the season with 15.9 points and 7.5 caroms per contest, with Marvelle Harris (14.5 ppg), Guerrero (12.9 ppg) and Watson (10.1 ppg) also enjoying productive campaigns.
ODU has also won four of its last five games, but is just 5-8 on the road this season. Traveling across the country after playing just 48 hours ago will likely spell the end of the line for the Monarchs.
Game Date and Time