Old Dominion took the lead several times in the second half of a back-and-forth battle between the Monarchs of the CAA and the Murray State Racers of the Ohio Valley Conference on Saturday night. Various ODU players contributed to mini-runs, with DeShawn Painter, Dmitri Batten, Donte Hill and Nick Wright making clutch plays along the way. For Blaine Taylor’s youthful final CAA squad before heading to Conference USA, every night will be a search for the main man, the marquee performer.
On the other side of the ball, it was obvious who played the role of Superman. It has been ever since last season, when the Racers won 31 games and entered the Big Dance with a #6 seed – when in need, get the ball to Isaiah Canaan. We believed in Canaan as well, so much so that we made him a preseason first-team All-American. Our faith, and that of Racer fans, is well placed.
Canaan dropped 30 points on Old Dominion in a 79-72 win at CFSB Center in Murray, KY. His transcendent night included 10-18 shooting from the floor, 6-11 from deep, and 4-5 from the free throw line. Canaan’s big night was seasoned with 3 assists, 2 steals and a block for good measure.
The Racers also got a huge 15 point, 15 rebound game from Ed Daniel, and 13 points from senior forward Brandon Garrett as well.
Painter — an NC State transfer — had a decent night for the visitors from Norfolk, putting in 13 points off the bench to go with 11 boards, 2 steals and 2 blocks. The cold-shooting Monarchs simply didn’t have enough to overcome Canaan’s barrage.
The win took the Racers to 4-1 overall, leaving them in good shape as they cruise toward conference play. Early wins over BCS-level programs Auburn and St. Johns plump up a resume that will be slightly strengthened by league games against new OVC member Belmont after the new year.
Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.