The VMI Keydets weathered a poor shooting night and stayed in the game for the majority of the contest, but the UNCG Spartans finished the game with a 13-4 run and went on to a 75-63 win over the Keydets in men’s basketball SoCon action Wednesday night in Greensboro, N.C.
VMI (6-12, 2-5 SoCon) shot just 30.7% from the field Wednesday, but was still within three points, 62-59, after a Julian Eleby three-pointer with 5:26 left in the game. The next UNCG (6-13, 2-4) possession was critical, as the home team pulled down three offensive rebounds en route to a Jordy Kuiper basket that started the game’s decisive run.
The Keydets lost despite a frantic comeback, as VMI had trailed by as many as 13 in the first half before briefly pulling ahead on two occasions in the second period, the last of which came with 13:16 remaining. Phillip Anglade led the visitors with a double-double, scoring 11 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, while Kayel Locke led UNCG with 19 points.
It was the home team that sprinted ahead early, jumping out to a 24-11 lead at the 8:29 mark of the first half. That would be the largest lead for either team throughout the game, as VMI began its comeback at that point. The Keydets got as close as five on two occasions over the eight-plus minutes of the period, and went in to the locker room down by six, 38-32.
VMI then continued its run early in the second half, scoring nine of the half’s first 12 points to take its first lead of the night, 41-40 on a Trey Chapman three-pointer with 17:31 to go. All told, the Keydets outscored UNCG 30-16 after the Spartans had the game-high 13-point first half lead.
After Chapman’s three, the score stayed nip and tuck for the next 12-plus minutes. UNCG took a six-point lead twice, the last of which came at 62-56 with 5:42 left, but Eleby answered with a three-pointer to cut the lead down to three. Unfortunately for VMI, the Spartans started the game-deciding run on their next trip down the floor and went on to the victory.
VMI finished the game 23 of 75 (30.7%) from the field and just 9 of 40 (22.5%) from three-point range. The Keydets also had their second-worst free throw effort of the year, shooting just 50% (8 of 16) from the line in the loss. UNCG went 13 of 19 from the charity stripe (68.4%), but was 28 of 62 from the field (45.2%) and 6 of 18 (33.3%) from three-point range.
The teams combined for 30 turnovers and just 21 assists in Wednesday’s contest.
VMI basketball will return to action Saturday, as the Keydets return to Cameron Hall to face the Buccaneers of East Tennessee State. Game time is set for 1 p.m.
QUOTES – VMI Head Coach Duggar Baucom
“I thought they outplayed us in every facet of the game. They just beat us in every phase.”
“Our whole offense is predicated on making shots and we wasted another good effort by Philip Anglade.”
“They pushed us around and did what they wanted to and we had no answer. We only went 8 of 16 from the line and left some points there. We didn’t do the things we needed to do in a very winnable game.”
“Credit UNCG. They played well. I thought we played hard, but we didn’t play smart. We would get a turnover and give it right back to them.