VMI falls to UNCG, 91-82

vmiThe UNCG Spartans put five players in double figures and shot over 60 percent from the floor in the second half en route to a 91-82 win over the VMI Keydets, in SoCon basketball action Saturday afternoon at Cameron Hall in Lexington.

VMI (4-12, 1-4 SoCon) had a nine-point lead at the 7:35 mark of the first half, but the league-leading Spartans (14-5, 5-1) asserted themselves with a 30-7 run to close the half and took a 14-point lead to halftime. The Keydets got within seven points in the final minute, but could not draw any closer as UNCG prevailed by nine.

The Keydets were led by QJ Peterson in defeat, as he scored a game-high 31 points. Julian Eleby battled through a rough shooting night to tally 19 markers, and became the 40th player to go over 1,000 career points at VMI in the process. Armani Branch added 12 points and six rebounds.

Diante Baldwin and Demetrius Troy scored 20 points apiece to lead the Spartans, with Troy’s effort marking a career-high.

It was UNCG that jumped out to an early lead, pacing the Keydets by as many as six in the early going before a 10-0 run gave the Keydets a nine-point lead, 27-18, with 7:35 left in the first half. RJ White then scored for the visitors on their next trip down the floor, starting the game-breaking 30-7 run that would not see UNCG surrender the lead again.

After leading by 14 at halftime, the Spartans widened the lead to 20 with 16:39 to play. The margin was still 20 with 5:50 remaining, but the Keydets used an 11-0 run to climb within nine with just over three minutes to go.

The home team climbed within seven on exchanges of possession and free throws in the final minute, but the Keydets were unable to draw any closer as UNCG prevailed by nine.

In the contest, VMI went 31 of 66 from the floor (47%) and 12 of 31 from three-point range (38.7%). The Keydets, however, missed seven of their first 11 foul shots and wound up at 8 for 15 (53.3%) for the afternoon.

UNCG blistered the nets in the second half, going 17 of 28 (60.7%), to wind up at 59.3% for the game. The Spartans were 9 of 17 from three-point range (52.9%) and made 18 of 24 from the line (75%).

VMI basketball will return to action Thursday, when the Keydets travel to Spartanburg, S.C. to face the Wofford Terriers. Tip time is set for 7 p.m.


Postgame: VMI coach Dan Earl

“I think our guys continued to battle throughout but, UNCG is a good team. They can hurt you inside and have very good guard play and came out and played very well.”

“I was proud of our guys for fighting. We shot the ball decently, but not everybody, shooting 47% from the field and 39% from 3- I’ll take that. But you can’t give them 60 percent from the field and 53 from 3-point. It’s hard to win games that way. Defensively, we didn’t have enough as a team. We have to get better in that department.”

“When you are playing a guy who is not just a shooter or not just a driver, it’s harder to play those guys, but you certainly have to contest their shots.”

“We have to try to get it to the line more than we did. We’ll learn from it. I just told the team we have to stick together.”


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