Behind a record-setting day from senior forward D.J. Covington, the Virginia Military Institute basketball team advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2014 CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament as VMI topped Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne 106-95 Saturday afternoon.
Covington set the single-game mark for a CIT tournament game with 41 points. The forward was efficient going 16 of 21 from the field in just 26 minutes on the court. Covington was also nine for 12 from the free throw line en route to being the first Keydet to surpass 40 points since Reggie Williams on Jan. 8, 2008.
The Keydets (21-12) await their next opponent, which will be announced by the CIT following the conclusion of the second round. The quarterfinal games will be contested March 25-27.
Covington was joined by three teammates in double figures as freshman QJ Peterson dropped in 25. Rodney Glasgow posted a double-double with 13 points and 12 assists while Tim Marshall put away 12 points off the bench. Covington tallied his 18th double of the year with 10 boards, eight coming on defense.
IPFW was led by Luis Jacobo, who posted 30 points and 11 rebounds while Joe Edwards and Pierre Bland recorded 14 and 13 points, respectively. Joe Reed finished with 11 points for the Mastodons while Forbes rounded out the double-digit scorers with 10.
As a team, VMI scored at a blistering pace, shooting 58.7 percent from the field, going 37-63 as a team, including 60 percent in the second half (18-30). It was another solid performance from the line for the Keydets, who went 23 of 32 (71.9 percent). Covington was the only player to take double-digit attempts at the line.
IPFW (25-11) had a strong day from the field as well, shooting 51.3 percent for the game (40-78). The charity stripe was not kind to the Mastodons, who hit just 11 of their 21 attempts (52.4 percent).
Peterson led the game from beyond the arc, hitting six of his nine attempts from deep, including a perfect four-for-four in the first half. VMI as a team went 42.9 percent from three-point land, including 58.3 percent in the first half (7-12). The Mastodons connected on just 19 percent of their three-points, going four of 21.
VMI held a narrow edge on the glass, pulling down 38 rebounds while IPFW snared 37. Thirty of the Keydets rebounds came on the defensive end while the Mastodons had 14 on offense, leading to 17 second-chance points.
The first half close as neither team could gain a lead larger than nine, a 51-42 advantage for VMI at halftime. The opening 20 minutes featured six ties and nine lead changes before VMI took control with 4:50 left in the half. After a Jacobo jumper, VMI lead 37-36 before a midrange jumper from Phillip Anglade, who finished with five rebounds, put the Keydets up 39-36.
The Mastodons went through nearly two minutes of scoreless basketball as VMI went up by five, 41-36 on a Craig Hinton dunk. IPFW cut the lead to three, 43-40 with 2:09 left in the half, but the Keydets ended the period on an 8-2 run with a Covington layup, Peterson three-pointer and a Marshall layup. VMI called a timeout with 12 seconds left in the half as head coach duggar baucom drew up a play, perfectly executed by Marshall, who hit a three to end the period.
The second half was closer as VMI out-scored IPFW 55-53, but the nine-point halftime gap was enough to stave off a run. VMI built to the largest lead of the game, 82-63 with 8:35 left in the game as Glasgow knocked down a jumper, capping a 16-3 run for the Keydets.
VMI maintained a double-digit lead over the next seven minutes before IPFW pulled within nine, 99-90 with 1:04 left to play. After Covington split a pair of free throws, a Michael Kibiloski three pointer cut the lead to seven. All 3,642 people in attendance watched Covington hit another pair of free throws with 26 seconds left to set the CIT single-game record.
Quotes – VMI Head Coach Duggar Baucom
“D.J. played really well today and everyone played well. I couldn’t be prouder of the guys. Rodney (Glasgow) only had 13 points, but 12 assists and 9 in the first half. That’s pretty spectacular.”
“The 1-3-1 has been good to us. It got them out if rhythm a little bit. It helped us get back in the game at High Point and at Gardner-Webb and today it helped us out, too. We got three straight stops out of the box and one late in the first half. Tim (Marshall) hit a huge shot to send us to the locker room up by nine.”
“QJ (Peterson) made six 3’s today and to his credit, he was in here an hour before practice yesterday shooting and stayed after shooting so , it’s not by accident. He’s worked very, very hard. But his stick back was the play of the game I thought, because it was a 10-point game and he pushed it back to 13.”
“They were a very good team and very well coached. Jacobo is as good as any player we had seen in the Big South.”