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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Raising Spirits & Money

The basketball game was just a bonus.

The Old Dominion University Monarchs men's team shocked the University of Virginia Cavaliers 63-61 in the Governor's Holiday Hoops Classic on Saturday, Dec. 22 in the Richmond Coliseum.

More meaningfully, fans of the four teams participating in the event (the University of Richmond and George Mason University played in the other game) collected more than 216,000 pounds of food and donations for Virginia food banks during a month-long food drive competition leading up to the game.

In the 30 days of the competition, the Old Dominion University community contributed 4,602 pounds of food, along with cash donations of $13,641.61. To make things even across the state the Federation of Virginia Food Banks converts a dollar donation to four pounds of food. That makes ODU's total collections 59,168 pounds.

"We are so appreciative of the great continued support we receive from ODU," said Abby Weber, Food and Fund Drive Coordinator with the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia. "The Foodbank's work is truly a community effort and you have helped to feed many people this holiday season. "

The University of Virginia community raised the equivalent of more than 150,000 pounds of food, to win the challenge with Old Dominion. But the totals of UVa. and Old Dominion dwarfed the totals of the other participating schools.

It was truly a team effort.

Collection bins for the food drive popped up like mushrooms all over campus, and in nearby businesses, as the ODU community embraced the competition against UVa.

The ODU Chapter 200 of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi accepted the challenge as well, raising $750 among its membership, which counts as 3,000 pounds of food in the food drive.

One employee of the Ted Constant Convocation Center, Anthony Jones, collected more than 1,600 cans himself to donate to the cause. Jones was feted at a reception with Gov. Bob McDonnell before the basketball doubleheader.

It was a great day of basketball as well. ODU's shocking win over Virginia broke the team's nine-game losing streak. Sophomore Dimitri Batten led the Monarchs with a career high of 23 points. And in the first game, George Mason topped Richmond 67-64 on a buzzer-beating three-point shot.

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