NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Frank Hassell scored 22 points and second-seeded Old Dominion earned the right to defend its Colonial Athletic Association tournament championship with a 77-69 victory against Hofstra in the semifinals on Sunday.

Darius James added 16 points — his season-high in CAA games this season — and Kent Bazemore had 11 as the Monarchs (26-6) shot 57 percent in winning their eighth in a row.

Hofstra (21-11), playing beyond the quarterfinals for the first time since 2006, got 16 points from two-time CAA player of the year Charles Jenkins and 12 from Mike Moore, but couldn’t slow the bigger, more physical Monarchs near the basket.

Old Dominion outscored the Pride 38-20 in the paint and outrebounded them 34-27.

The Monarchs will face fourth-seeded Virginia Commonwealth University, which upset top-seeded George Mason 79-63 in Sunday’s first semifinal, for the championship.

Old Dominion shot better than 58 percent in the first half and led 41-34 at the break.

Hofstra trailed by 11 in the second half before Jenkins made 3-pointers 1:48 apart — the second with 12:01 left, ending a 7-2 spurt — to pull the Pride within 56-50. But they had no answer for the Monarchs’ inside game. Hassell answered Jenkins’ second 3 with a pair of free throws, and Bazemore scored on a drive, pushing Old Dominion’s lead to 60-50 with 9:01 to go.

The Pride got as close as seven thereafter, but after Moore’s layup made it 66-59 with 5:03 to play, Trian Iliadis penetrated on the left baseline for a layup for Old Dominion, Jenkins was stripped at the other end and James’ layup boosted the lead to 70-59.

The Pride never threatened again, and will likely be left hoping for a call from the National Invitation Tournament when the postseason fields are set next Sunday night.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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