Dominant second half sends VMI past The Citadel, 101-78

vmiThe VMI Keydets shot 61 percent from the floor in the second half and got 37 points from QJ Peterson, en route to a 101-78 win over The Citadel Bulldogs Saturday afternoon in Lexington, Va.

The game was close at halftime, with just a one-point margin separating the teams, but VMI (6-17, 3-9 SoCon) blew the game open by starting the second half with a 25-8 run and The Citadel (9-18, 2-12) never seriously threatened again.

Peterson fueled VMI’s second half dominance by scoring 24 markers in the last 20 minutes and shooting 9 of 11, in a performance reminiscent of his 40-point performance Jan. 25 at Chattanooga.

The Keydets dominated action inside as well, outscoring the Bulldogs by a 52-26 count in the paint to overcome Citadel’s 57-11 edge in bench scoring.

In defeat, the Bulldogs were led by 33 points from Preston Parks, but no other player scored more than 12 for the team that came in leading Division I in scoring at well over 90 points per game. In addition to 37 points from Peterson, Adrian Rich added a career-high 16 and Julian Eleby had his first career double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds.

The Citadel took an eight-point lead early in Saturday’s contest, but then went cold, going 1 for 14 from the field in one stretch. Despite that, VMI led by no more than six in the first half as the visitors went 14 of 19 from the line in the period.

The Keydets then took a one-point lead into the locker room, setting the stage for the game-turning run to open the second period.

For the game, VMI shot 37 of 74 (50%) overall and 22 of 36 (61.1%) in the second half. The Keydets were 8 of 27 (29.6%) from three-point range and 19 of 25 (76%) from the free throw line.

The Citadel went 23 of 65 (35.4%), 7 of 29 (24.1%) and 25 of 37 (67.6%) in those categories, respectively.

VMI basketball will return to action Monday, when the Keydets take on the Furman Paladins at 7 p.m. The contest will be shown live on the American Sports Network.


Postgame: VMI coach Dan Earl

“I’m really proud of our guys – it was a great effort. We had a stinker on Thursday night and today we responded. We were attentive and focused in practice yesterday and we competed throughout from start to finish today.”

“I thought we did a good job of making the right play. A couple of times late we took some quick shots, but we shared the ball and made the right play. Guys affect the games in different ways like Julian Eleby with 13 rebounds. Even guys who didn’t score like Fred Iruafemi came in and contributed.”

“The Citadel spread us out and we got into some foul trouble, but our guys were resilient and played to the final buzzer.”

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