The win snapped a five-game skid for the Keydets and was VMI’s fourth win over the Paladins over the last five meetings of the series. The teams were meeting for the first time since 2003 when VMI wrapped up its first stint in the Southern Conference.
Saturday’s contest was close for much of the game, and Furman (4-11, 2-3 SoCon) was still within one at 58-57 with 12:41 left. Peterson scored on a layup during VMI’s (6-11, 2-4 SoCon) next trip down the floor, however, and that started a 15-4 run that essentially put the game out of reach. That run included a Peterson three-pointer with 9:47 left that pushed him over the 1,000 career point mark, a mark he is believed to be the fastest Keydet to ever reach (52 games).
Tim Marshall added 12 points and Julian Eleby scored 11 points for the Keydets. Philip Anglade, limited to 10 minutes of action because of foul trouble, scored nine points and grabbed five rebounds for the visitors.
Paladin guard Stephen Croone scored 21 points and had 10 rebounds and Kris Acox tallied 14 points with nine rebounds.
The Keydets shot 44.1% from the floor and drained 12 of 32 from 3-point range with eight registered before halftime.
The Keydets forced 17 Paladin turnovers with 12 coming after halftime that were converted into 15 points. Bench scoring accounted for 34 points of the VMI point production.
VMI raced to a 10-5 early lead following a Craig Hinton 3-pointer but five straight points by Croone pulled the Paladins even at the 14:58 mark. A 3-point barrage keyed VMI to an 11-0 run capped by back-to-back 3-pointers by Marshall. VMI led 35-23 with six minutes remaining in the first half and held an 11-point cushion following a pair of Jordan Weethee free throws with 3:41 left.
Furman outpointed VMI 12-2 over the last 3:17 to end the first half and trailed the Keydets 44-43 at the break.
VMI never trailed in the second half but was challenged several times by the Paladins. A Kris Acox free throw knotted the game at 53-53 with 14:36 left. A layup and subsequent foul shot converted by Anglade with 14:06 remaining put the Keydets up for good.
VMI had not hit a 3-pointer over the first eight minutes of the second half before Eleby knocked down a deep 3 from the top of the key to extend VMI’s lead to six. Peterson, Marshall and Eleby again hit bombs beyond the arc during the decisive 15-4 spurt and the Keydets led 73-61 with 8:20 left.
Anglade departed with his fifth foul at the 7:22 mark but the closest the Paladins came was six points (79-73) when Fowler converted a layup. Peterson closed out the contest with four straight free throws over the last :45 seconds of regulation.
VMI, playing its eighth road game over the last 10 outings, continues its road swing next Wednesday at UNC Greensboro. Tip-off is 7 pm.
VMI Head Basketball Coach Duggar Baucom –
“It feels good to win again. It’s been a while and a win on the road is certainly sweet. We had great balanced scoring with everybody scoring for us even though we had only three in double-figures.”
“Phillip Anglade and Fred Iruafemi keep getting better and better. Phil had a tough day, but nine points and five rebounds in 10 minutes of action is pretty good work.”
“They are very physical and (Stephen) Croone is a good player and gets to the line. To get 21 points on nine shots is pretty good.”
“I thought our guys were really poised when they tried to pressure us on the inbound routes. Q.J (Peterson).hit some big shots and free throws down the stretch and I thought we rebounded well.”