Norfolk, VA (SportsNetwork.com) - Aaron Bacote scored a career-high 31 points on a perfect shooting effort from the floor, leading Old Dominion to a 73-67 upset of No. 14 VCU at the Constant Center.
Bacote hit all eight of his field goal attempts and went 4-for-4 from 3-point range, while the Monarchs knocked down 9-of-17 attempts from beyond the arc to earn their first win over a ranked opponent since 2009.
The Rams, on the other hand, struggled from the perimeter for much of the day and shot 39 percent overall in being dealt a second defeat in their last three games.
"Give (ODU) Coach (Jeff) Jones and his staff and his team a lot of credit," said VCU head coach Shaka Smart. "They really came out with an aggressiveness about them at both ends of the floor, that really was the difference in the game."
Trey Freeman added 15 points in a game the Monarchs (5-1) led virtually the entire way due to their marksmanship from the perimeter and ability to handle VCU's trademark pressure defense.
"I think our guys thought they could win. I don't know that they came into the game expecting to win," said Jones. "We hadn't put together 40 minutes against that kind of team."
Treveon Graham tallied 29 points for VCU (4-2), with Melvin Johnson recording 14 in the loss.
ODU put the Rams in a sizeable hole midway through the opening half on the strength of its long-range shooting success. The Monarchs made each of their five 3-point attempts -- with Bacote draining the first two and Ambrose Mosley the last three -- during a 17-2 run that turned a tie game into a 23-8 lead.
The Monarchs maintained a double-digit cushion well into the second half, building a 32-18 advantage at the break by beating VCU at its own game. Old Dominion committed just four turnovers as Freeman successfully navigated the Rams' press, while the Rams had nine giveaways that led to 12 Monarchs' points over the opening period.
"For most of the game I thought we had that nice balance," Jones said. "We wanted to be aggressive, but we wanted to be smart."
Down by as many as 18 early in the second half and trailing 57-40 with under 4 1/2 minutes to go, VCU finally began to close the gap. Graham ripped off eight straight points to get the margin under 10, then later drilled a trey to cap a 13-2 spurt that pulled the Rams within 59-53 with 1:34 remaining.
The Monarchs were able to hold on by hitting their foul shots, however, going 12-of-14 from the charity stripe in the final minute.
ODU ended the game 24-of-30 at the free throw line, with VCU converting only 13 of its 22 chances.
The Monarchs had dropped five straight against ranked teams since a 61-57 decision over then-No. 11 Georgetown on Dec. 19, 2009 ... Bacote's previous career best was 28 points, set twice last season ... VCU had won four straight meetings between the former Sun Belt and CAA rivals, with Old Dominion's last victory over the Rams coming in the 2011 CAA Tournament title game ... VCU, which held a 35-32 edge on the boards, had won 22 straight in which it outrebounded its opponent.