Eleby’s 43 points sparks VMI Keydets to double-OT win at WCU
Julian Eleby scored 43 points, including the go-ahead free throws with 12 seconds left in the second overtime, to lead the VMI Keydets past the Western Carolina Catamounts, 113-111, in Southern Conference basketball action Saturday in Cullowhee, N.C. Eleby’s 43 points were the most ever scored by a VMI player against a Division I opponent.
Eleby shot 11-of-22 from the floor including 8-of-15 from 3-point range and drained 13-of-15 free throws to help lead the Keydets to their third consecutive Southern Conference win and second on the road. VMI improved to 11-16 overall and 7-9 in the league with two home games remaining on the regular season schedule.
The Keydets placed five in double figures scoring with Tim Marshall scoring 18 points on six 3-pointers, Jordan Weethee with 15 points and 9 rebounds, and Philip Anglade and Jarid Watson each with 10 points. Watson produced a double-double with 11 rebounds against the Catamounts.
Western Carolina (13-15, 8-8 in Socon), playing for the first time in a week, got a career-high 40 points from senior James Sinclair who shot 16-of-30 from the floor along with nine rebounds. Torrian Brummit added 31 points converting 11-of-15 from the floor and 13-of-15 from the free throw line.
The Keydets canned 20 of 46 three-point shots giving them 59 treys over the last three games.
VMI won its second consecutive conference road game and fourth league road win of the season.
The Keydets forced 17 Western Carolina turnovers that were converted into 20 points in the game that saw 10 ties and eight lead changes.
VMI trailed 98-93 with 21.5 seconds left in the first OT following a Devin Peterson layup , but Eleby answered with a contested 3 from the right wing to pull the Keydets within 98-96. Peterson was fouled on WCU’s next trip down the floor but converted just one of two free throws and VMI rebounded.
Eleby raced the ball up the left side line into the front court and was fouled by Peterson while launching a three-point attempt from the left wing with 3.5 seconds left. Eleby calmly sank all three free throws to tie the game and a running half court shot by Rhett Harrelson missed to send the teams into a second overtime.
Eleby again converted the two clutch free throws in the waning seconds of double-overtime to help the Keydets prevail.
A Brummit layup tied the game with at 110-110 with 1:04 left and VMI turned the ball over on its next possession. Weethee then fouled Brummit with :32 left. The WCU forward made the first, but missed the second and the Cats fouled Eleby on the ensuing possession with 11.5 seconds left – setting the go-ahead fouls shots.
VMI was able to tie up a rebound off a missed Browning shot as time apparently expired, but an official review put 0.4 on the clock and Weethee was fouled on the inbounds pass. Weethee made the first free throw and intentionally missed the second to prevent WCU from launching a shot as time expired.
It was VMI’s first win over Western Carolina since February 9, 2002 – a game that was also played at the Ramsey Center in Cullowhee and won by the Keydets in OT, 97-91.
VMI returns home to close out the regular season with a two-game stand at Cameron Hall beginning with a visit from the Chattanooga Mocs next Thursday at 7 p.m.
VMI Head Coach Duggar Baucom
“The guys persevered and they fought and made plays when they had to. I can’t imagine how Julian Eleby felt after playing 46 minutes. He was pretty spectacular. Credit him for stepping up in the moment.”
“Trey Chapman came up with two rebounds down the stretch that were absolutely amazing. We tell them that more games are won on the second free throw shot than the first and we tell them to box out.”
“Our shooting was back again. We shot it well. It was the third straight game where a player made eight or more threes.”
“Jarid Watson played 31 huge minutes today. He made the most of his minutes and it was incredible the way he competed like he did. I was proud of all the guys.”