Coastal Carolina rallies, stuns VMI, 83-78

vmi_logoIt was a tale of two halves for the VMI Keydets Wednesday night, as after leading the coastal carolina Chanticleers by 14 at halftime, the Keydets fell 83-78 at Cameron Hall.

The Keydets shot 51.4 percent from the field in the first half, but struggled to find the basket in the second, hitting seven of 26 attempts (26.9). The loss snapped a four-game Big South Conference winning streak for the Keydets, who were held without an assist in the second half.

Despite the second period struggles, VMI had a chance to win late. The Keydets led 78-76 with 1:37 left after a driving layup by QJ Peterson, but Elijah Wilson drilled a long three-pointer to give the Chanticleers a lead they would not relinquish. After a VMI turnover, the Keydets got the ball back with two seconds left down by three, but were unable to go the length of the court and turned the ball over. Coastal’s Warren Gillis made two free throws to account for the final margin, 83-78.

The Keydets (14-10, 7-4 BSC) had four players in double-digits, led by D.J. Covington’s 21 markers and 11 rebounds. Brian Brown and Peterson contributed 14 points apiece. Rodney Glasgow put up 12 points with six assists.

Coastal was paced by Wilson, who posted a game-high 26 points, going 11-of-16 from the field and knocking down all three of his shots from deep. Gillis added 16 points for the Chanticleers (15-10, 8-3 BSC) as Josh Cameron and Badou Diagne had 15 and 12 points, respectively.

VMI opened strong, running out to a 22-9 lead with 12:31 left in the first half, capped by a Brown jumper. Through the first nine minutes of the game, VMI hit 10 of its 17 attempts from the field, including four three-pointers. Brown got going early, scoring eight of his points before the second media timeout.

The Keydets got their biggest lead of the night with 9:35 left in the first half, with Brown hitting a three pointer. VMI cruised through the rest of the first half, with their lead dipping below double-digits just once at the 6:04 mark as Cameron drilled a three. But the single-digit lead was fleeting before Peterson rolled in a layup to put VMI back on top by 11.

VMI took a 50-36 lead into the break, with three players already in double figures, Brown with 14, Covington with 12 and Jordan Weethee with 11.

The Chanticleers came out firing in the second half, whittling VMI’s lead to 53-46 just three minutes into the second half. Four different players scored for Coastal over that span, including three pointers by Gillis and Cameron.

Coastal continued to find the bottom of the net while VMI struggled and the Chants pulled within two points of VMI with 14:09 left in the game. The Keydets got a small surge, regaining a four-point, 59-55 lead, but three pointer and free throws by Coastal tied the game for the first time, 60-60, with 11:48 to play. That set up a stretch of six ties and eight lead changes over a 10-minute span, during which neither team had more than a three-point lead.

Rodney Glasgow tied the game for the final time, 76-76, with 2:29 left, and Peterson scored 48 seconds later to give the Keydets the lead, 78-76. That set up Wilson’s decisive three and the game-ending drama.

The game on the boards was close, with coastal carolina grabbed 43 rebounds and VMI with 42. Each team had 13 offensive rebounds, while Coastal had 30 on defense compared to VMI’s 29. Covington logged the 12th double-double of his season with 11 rebounds, the only player in the game with double-figure boards. Covington was solid on defense as well, knocking away six Coastal shots.

The visitors were led in rebounds by Diagne who grabbed eight boards, including seven on defense. coastal carolina scored 15 second-chance points, compared to VMI’s 12. Coastal scored 10 points on nine VMI turnovers.

VMI basketball will return to action Saturday, taking on the Liberty Flames in Lynchburg, Va. Game time is set for 7 p.m., and the contest will be broadcast on MASN.


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