First-half surge propels Western Carolina past VMI
VMI’s Garrett Gilkeson filled up the stat sheet for the second-straight game. The senior guard posted team-highs of 18 points, six assists and two steals to go with eight rebounds. He made all nine of his free-throw attempts and VMI got to the free throw line 21 times, tying for the third-most on the year.
“I thought we continued to fight, which was good, and I know the guys are getting tired of saying we’re right there, but we just have to figure a way to get over the hump,” VMI coach Dan Earl said. “It’s a credit to our guys for fighting – we just have to be a little smarter down the stretch when we took one or two tough shots and we didn’t get stops and they were able to break it open.”
Six Keydets reached double figures in a balanced offensive attack, with Jake Stephens and Myles Lewis each netting 13. Freshmen Travis Evee and Kamdyn Curfman had 11 points apiece and Greg Parham had 10 with four assists. Tyler Creammer narrowly missed a double double with nine points and a team-high 10 boards. Stephens nailed 3-of-5 attempts from long distance and Lewis added five rebounds.
The Keydets opened the game strong, hitting their first four three-pointers to forge a 12-5 lead. VMI held its biggest lead of the game (20-11) with 13 minutes remaining after a Gilkeson layup. WCU used a 20-4 run to take a 31-24 edge, and had the lead the remainder of the game. The Keydets trimmed the advantage to just four after a Stephens trey with 2:40 left on the game clock, but the Catamounts missed only one shot the rest of the way to seal the victory.
Carlos Dotson paced Western Carolina (11-3/3-0 SoCon) with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Mason Faulkner had 20 points and 10 rebounds while Matt Halvorsen hit four three-pointers on his way to 20 points. Tyler Harris added 13 points and Onno Steger had 10 points and six rebounds.
WCU shot 32-of-64 from the floor (50%) and 11-of-28 (39%) from behind the three-point stripe.
The Keydets (5-12/0-4) will travel to East Tennessee State University (ETSU) Saturday for another SoCon contest at 1 p.m.