Navy pulls away late, tops VMI, 68-62
In a game that saw five ties and 15 lead changes, the Navy Midshipmen used a 7-0 run in the waning moments to pull away for a 68-62 win over the VMI Keydets in non-conference basketball action Saturday afternoon at Cameron Hall.
After trailing for much of the contest, VMI (3-6) battled back to tie the game on several occasions, the last of which came after a QJ Peterson triple with 3:26 to play. With the contest knotted at 54, Shawn Anderson hit two free throws on Navy’s next trip down the floor to start the decisive spurt. All seven points in the run came at the free throw line, a location from which Navy (8-3) hit 22 of 27 (81.5%) for the game.
The Keydets were led by Peterson’s 20 points in a losing effort, while Tim Marshall put in 14. Jace Hogan led Navy with 17.
The game was close early, and the Keydets had the lead after a Peterson basket at the 12:36 mark, 11-10, but Navy immediately responded with an 18-4 run to seize control. A three-pointer by Tim Abruzzo at the 5:28 mark capped that push and gave the visitors a 28-15 lead. VMI managed to cut the lead back to single digits in the waning seconds of the first half, 30-21.
The home team continued to whittle away at the margin early in the second half and tied the game, 37-37, on a Phillip Anglade basket with 11:43 left. Just over two minutes later, VMI took its first lead since midway through the first half with a Marshall triple, 44-43.
Over the next six-plus minutes, there were five lead changes and a tie as the team battled back and forth, with Peterson knotting the game at 54 with a long three-pointer with 3:26 to play. Anderson scored on two free throws at the other end, starting Navy’s decisive run.
Navy finished the game 21 of 47 (44.7%) from the floor, and 4 of 18 from long range (22.2%). VMI managed a 24 of 56 pace (42.9%) and 5 of 23 (21.7%) from downtown, but the key marker was the Keydets’ 9 of 13 (69.2%) pace from the charity stripe.
VMI basketball will return to action December 21, taking on the Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs. Tip time in Boiling Springs, N.C. is set for 7 p.m.
Press Conference: VMI Head Coach Dan Earl
“We learned today that you have to play 40 minutes. We had that problem where we played 20 good minutes or 32 good minutes and had a couple of tough stretches.”
“Unfortunately, the game comes down to making and missing shots. You can’t let your defense or rebounding be affected by it. I was proud of our guys for competing in the second half – we got back in it-.but give credit to Navy. It seemed like they hit all their free throws. They played well down the stretch.”
“We were able to get the ball inside some on drives and post-ups. We can’t live and die by the three point shot. Obviously our 3-point shot wasn’t falling today. We were 4 for 18 today-we have some guys who can shoot the ball but have to get the ball inside more. We didn’t get to the free throw line enough.”
“We’re building a program and it takes a little time. Obviously, it’s a different style of play and the guys are learning it and they are wonderful to coach. I think they are going to continue to learn. I was proud of our effort, but we still have a ways to go.”