RICHMOND, Va. — — Pat Kennedy knew what was coming. There was just nothing he or his Towson team could do about it.
Old Dominion rolled to an 86-56 victory against the Tigers in Saturday's Colonial Athletic Association quarterfinal, out-rebounding Towson by a single-game tournament record 33 boards. The Monarchs (24-8), the top seed and regular-season champions, had 60 rebounds, also a single-game tournament record, to the Tigers' 27 and outscored them 44-20 in the paint.
"I saw them rebound early in the season against Georgetown. They're a terrific rebounding team," Kennedy said. "They just keep coming at you. They had 24 offensive rebounds. They're very strong. You've got to be on the floor to realize how strong they are."
The Tigers (10-21), the eighth seed, played ODU - 61-57 winners at Georgetown on Dec. 19 - close in a 78-67 loss Feb. 16 with just seven players in uniform, but Saturday's game was over at halftime, when the Monarchs led 39-21 and had a 28-11 rebounding advantage.
"They outhustled us," said Towson forward Robert Nwankwo, who was tied for the league lead with nine rebounds per game but grabbed just six Saturday. "They were able to get their bodies on us and move us back."
Junior forward Frank Hassell led the way with 11 boards to match his 11 points, but four other Monarchs had six or more rebounds.
"Our kids knew that was going to be a key factor in the game, and we just had players coming from all angles, getting rebounds," ODU coach Blaine Taylor said. "Frank's 11 is very eye-catching, but you've got a guy like [guard] Kent Bazemore with nine, [forward] Keyon Carter with nine, [guard] Marsharee Neely with six. So it came from all angles and all positions."
ODU, out-rebounding opponents by a league-best 7.9 boards per game, was tied with Drexel for the previous total rebounding record, with 50 (against William and Mary in 1994). The previous record for rebounding margin was 27, set by American in 1999.
"Coach always talks about rebounding before a game," said ODU senior forward Gerald Lee, who had 17 points and three rebounds in just 20 minutes of work. "It's not just one person, it's the whole team rebounding. Our guards got a lot of rebounds today."
No ODU player saw more than 26 minutes of action, and the Monarchs got 41 points from their bench. The Tigers, who had no bench points, were also outscored 16-7 on second-chance points.
The Tigers were within seven with 4:22 left in the first half but didn't score a basket for the rest of the half. Towson had just two buckets in the final 9:30 of the opening 20 minutes and fell behind by 22 after ODU opened the second half with a 6-2 run.
ODU's lead stretched to 37 points on Carter's 3-pointer with 6:40 to play.
The Monarchs, whose only loss in their past six games came at No. 24 Northern Iowa in an ESPN Bracketbuster game Feb. 20, play Virginia Commonwealth in today's 3 p.m. semifinal.
"I think we're pretty comfortable that people are going to give us their best shot, and we're going to try to give our best shot back," Taylor said. "[On Saturday], I think our experience shined through just a little bit, that our front-line guys had played here and played in some big settings."