Semifinal No. 1: Old Dominion Wins Instant Classic Over VCU, 73-69 In OT

If you were unaware that it's both the month of March and one week from Selection Sunday, Sunday's first CAA Tournament semifinal between top-seeded Old Dominion and their archrival, fifth-seeded VCU, provided all the reminder anyone would ever need.

In front of a VCU-friendly near-capacity crowd at Richmond Coliseum, the regular season champions moved on to the final with a 73-69 overtime victory.

In its early moments, this game didn't look like it was going to be quite so great. Even though there was intense end-to-end action early, both teams had trouble finishing. That changed by the time halftime rolled around, when Old Dominion held a 32-29 lead thanks to 12 points from star forward Gerald Lee, who made four of his six shots from the field in the period.

The Monarchs were 12 points down with 12 minutes in the second half. Lee and company, not known for their ability to mount a comeback, did just that to force an extra session.

It looked like Old Dominion would have a shot to win it at the end of the second, as VCU's Bradford Burgess stepped on the end line after rebounding a miss by the Monarchs' Darius James. After Old Dominion took back possession, Lee made the mistake of handling the ball near the perimeter and was called for a travel when attempting to drive to the net. 

Given another chance, the Rams couldn't even get a shot off before the end of regulation.

While both teams were red hot over the final 20 minutes of regulation, as VCU went 13 of 24 from the field and ODU shot 50 percent, the Monarchs were simply perfect in the extra session. They went four-for-four from the field, one-for-one from three and two-from-two from the charity stripe. The two free throws were the ones Lee hit with seven-tenths of a second left on the clock to grow the ODU lead to four, icing the victory.

Lee was the game's leading scorer, as he managed 26 points, after shooting 10 of 13 from the floor. Ben Finney and Marsharee Neely had 11 apiece and Kent Bazemore scored nine, with six of those coming on three spectacular dunks.

The guards led the way for VCU on this afternoon. Ed Nixon was the Rams' top scorer with 14, while Joey Rodriguez and Bradford Burgess had 13 each. Their star forward, Larry Sanders, only managed six points and six rebounds. Old Dominion ended up topping VCU on the boards, 44 to 27.

The Monarchs now move on to Monday night's championship game (7 p.m. ET, ESPN) where they will take on the winner of this evening's second semifinal between second-seeded Northeastern and No. 3 William & Mary.

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