Ambrose Mosley left it all on the court, and then in the interview room.
After 29 energetic minutes in which he hounded a couple of different Radford guards, canned three 3-pointers, grabbed five rebounds and handed out two assists, the Old Dominion freshman made it through the post-game press conference before finally hitting the deck, felled by a leg cramp.
That sort of effort, from the opening tip to the final buzzer, typified ODU’s 82-59 win over the Highlanders in a College Basketball Invitational tournament quarterfinal game Monday night.
“We kept emphasizing, for the last couple of days: energy and focus,” coach Jeff Jones said. “We preached it and preached it and preached it.
“We got it. Guys were ready to play.”
The Monarchs (18-17) jumped on Radford and never relented, rolling into the semifinals of the tournament. They'll play at 10 p.m. Wednesday at Fresno State.
Winners of five games a season ago, the Monarchs were unlikely candidates to be playing in late March. But given a second chance in the CBI, a tertiary tournament in which teams pay to host games, they’ve embraced the chance to extend the season.
“I’ve been told there are some detractors, and that’s fine, they’re entitled to their opinion,” Jones said. “But I really (could not) care less.
“No matter what the letters are in front of the tournament, if you’re able to play in March ... for a young group like ours, a relatively inexperienced group, nobody can tell me that it’s not valuable and it’s not going to help us next year.”
The game showcased the continued growth of Mosley, a 6-foot-1 guard who scored 15 points. The Monarchs also got an offensive outburst from junior forward Richard Ross, who scored a career-high 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
Ross scored 17 in the first half, on a variety of slashing drives, as ODU built a 16-point lead.
We just love playing basketball,” he said. “We get to wake up and continue to play.
“We thought our season was over after conference tournament. Everybody was depressed. Once we got that message saying we were going to play (in the CBI), it gave everybody new life.”
Radford (22-13) was coming off a 96-92 win at Oregon State in which it hit first 16 of its first 19 shots. The Highlanders shot just 30 percent in the first half Monday, and went 1 for 9 from 3-point range.
They trimmed ODU’s lead to 11 early in the second half, but could get no closer.
A driving layup by Mosley sparked a 10-2 run that turned back Radford’s modest threat.
“I’m a lot more confident,” Mosley said. “At the beginning of the year, I was kind of hesitant to shoot the ball.”
No longer. Mosley scored in double figures for the fifth time in six games. He’s scored 31 points in two CBI games.
“A guy like Ambrose ... when he’s able to play additional games, when he’s able to play 29 minutes, the way he did tonight, and be a factor, then that’s going to help us progress as a team that much further going into next season,” Jones said.
Next season will have to wait at least another game.
“We’re excited to play, wherever it is, whomever it’s against, we’re happy,” Jones said.
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