QJ Peterson had 27 points and Tim Marshall added 17, but the UNCW Seahawks scored 84 points in the paint and shot nearly 60 percent from the field en route to a 110-93 win over the VMI Keydets Saturday night at Cameron Hall.
Despite the disparity inside, VMI (2-2) was very much in Saturday’s contest in the first half, as the Keydets trailed by only one at halftime, 46-45, and had seen 11 lead changes over the first 20 minutes. UNCW (2-1) opened the second half on a 9-0 run, however, and the Keydets got no closer than seven the rest of the way.
In addition to outscoring VMI 84-34 in the painted area, the Seahawks took advantage of 23 Keydet turnovers and scored 33 markers off those miscues. It was the most turnovers VMI had posted in a game since Nov. 18, 2008.
Peterson led all scorers in the non-conference game with his 27 markers, while Marshall fell just two points shy of his career-high of 19 points. Brian Brown chipped in 16 points on 7 of 11 shooting, and Phillip Anglade had six blocks, the most by a Keydet player on the young season.
In its victory, UNCW saw two players post double-doubles, Freddie Jackson (26 points/12 rebounds) and Cedrick Williams (23 points/12 rebounds), while Addison Spruill added 20 points of his own.
The Keydets jumped out to an early 11-6 lead just under five minutes into the game, thanks to three-pointers by Brown and Jordan Weethee, but UNCW scored the next five points to take its first lead, 12-11 on a basket by Spruill with 14:02 on the clock. That set up a back and forth remainder of the half that saw neither team lead by more than six, a lead VMI took with 5:16 left in the period, 38-32.
The visitors answered with an 8-0 run to retake the advantage and set up the final minutes of the half, a period capped by a Malik Pugh basket that gave the Seahawks a one-point lead headed into the locker room, 46-45.
Peterson led the way for VMI in the first half, scoring 14 points as the Keydets shot just under 47% in the first 20 minutes. UNCW had 36 points in the paint, but the Keydets had an edge in points off turnovers, 19-12.
That changed in the second half as UNCW sprinted away early, using a 9-0 run at the start of the second half to take the game’s first double digit lead, 55-45, with 18:11 to go. VMI pulled back within seven on multiple occasions over the next several minutes, but could get no closer.
Still, the Keydets were within eight after two Julian Eleby free throws with 7:26 left, 88-80, but two free throws and back to back layups for the Seahawks pushed the lead back to double digits, where it would stay the rest of the way.
For the game, the Keydets shot 31 of 66 from the floor (47%) and 13 of 29 from long range (44.8%). VMI was also 18 of 23 at the line, a 78.3% clip, while UNCW was 47 of 79 from the field (59.5%) and just 2 of 7 from distance (28.6%). The Seahawks made 14 of their 20 free throws, a 70% success rate, and held a 43-30 edge on the glass.
VMI basketball returns to action Nov. 26, as the Keydets travel to Charleston, W. Va. to take on the West Virginia Mountaineers. Game time is set for 7 p.m. and the game will be televised on ROOT Sports.
QUOTES – VMI Head Coach Duggar Baucom
“In the first two minutes of the second half we were awful. And we weren’t very good the first three minutes of the first half. With that combined you are pushing and playing from behind the rest of the game. Not very good performance.”
“We want to push them off the three point line but you have to offer some resistance. We didn’t stay between the man and the basket. We didn’t do a good job there.”
“We got guys who are shooters who think they are drivers and vice versa and we need to get into our roles and get better at our roles.”
“The turnovers were embarrassing. At halftime out two backcourt players had eight turnovers and no assists. You can’t win like that.”