Sparked by Rodney Glasgow’s 30 points, the VMI Keydets rallied from a 17-point first half deficit and went on to defeat the Ohio Bobcats, 92-90, in the quarterfinals of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT) Wednesday night in Athens, Ohio.
With the win, VMI advances to April 1’s tournament semifinals, with site and time to be announced, and the Keydets assure themselves of becoming the Big South’s first men’s basketball team to ever play in the month of April.
After using a 10-0 first half run to cut a 35-18 deficit to seven, VMI (22-12) trailed by those same seven points at the break. The Keydets then used a 12-4 second half run to take a 57-55 lead with 12:52 to go, doing so on a Glasgow three, and VMI would not trail again en route to its third victory in this year’s CIT.
Glasgow led the way for the Keydets for the first time in the tournament, scoring 30 points on 11 of 19 shooting. He added five assists and is now just two shy of becoming the ninth player in Big South history to post 200 in a single season. D.J. Covington added 29 markers and 11 rebounds to notch his 19th double-double this season.
Ohio (25-12) was led by Nick Kellogg, who scored 30 points, and Maurice Ndour’s 29-point, 12 of 13 field goal effort.
The homestanding Bobcats jumped out to the early lead, opening the game on a 13-3 run as VMI missed nine of its first 10 shots, seemingly going cold from the floor the first time in five halves of CIT action. That lead went over 10 on a Wadly Mompremier three-point play at the 12:42 mark as Ohio took a 23-11 advantage.
The Keydets cut the deficit to 26-16 at 10:18 by scoring five of the game’s next eight points, but a 9-2 Bobcat run opened the margin up to a game-high 17, 35-18, with 7:21 left in the half. That was when the VMI rally began, as Brian Brown drilled a triple on the next Keydet possession to start the 10-0 run that got the visitors back in the game, and within 35-28 with 5:05 left in the half.
The teams matched each other the final five minutes of the period, and Ohio went in the locker room with a 46-39 lead. The Bobcats had shot 55.9 percent (19 of 34) from the field in the first half compared to the Keydets’ 12 of 37 (32.4 percent), but VMI stayed in the game with an 11 of 12 (91.7 percent) effort from the charity stripe.
The teams went back and forth early in the second half, with Ohio still leading by eight, 53-45, at the 16:49 mark. The Keydets surged from there, however, using a 9-0 run to take a 54-53 lead after a Glasgow three with 14:17 to play.
It was VMI’s first lead since being up 3-2 in the opening moments, and the margin was somewhat shortlived. Ohio scored on its next possession to go up one once again, but Glasgow hit another three to put VMI up, 57-55 and cap the 12-4 game-turning spurt. There would be two additional ties in the next minute-plus of play, but the Keydets would never trail again.
VMI got separation from the Bobcats from there, going up by double digits after a pair of Tim Marshall free throws at the 5:30 mark and taking a team-high 12-point lead, 86-74, on Glasgow’s two from the stripe with 3:23 to go.
Ohio put a scare into the VMI faithful with a 9-0 run that Kellogg capped with a three, pulling the home team within three with under two minutes to go, but a missed OU three with 45 seconds left led to a Glasgow hoop and a five-point lead. From there, Covington and Glasgow combined to go 4 of 4 from the line in the last 18 seconds as VMI held off the home team’s final surge and claimed the victory.
In addition to Glasgow and Covington, VMI got double-figure scoring from Brown, who notched 10 points while Marshall chipped in eight. The Keydets outrebounded Ohio 37-30 and moved to 16-2 this year when holding an edge on the glass. Although Ohio continued to shoot well in the second half, the Keydets blistered the nets in the final 20 minutes, hitting 19 of 28 overall (67.9 percent) and 5 of 8 from long range. OU went 16 of 29 from the floor (55.2 percent) in the second half.
VMI will return to action April 1, participating in the CIT’s semifinals. The site and time of the game are yet to be announced.
Quotes – VMI Head Coach Duggar Baucom
“What a bad start, but the guys persevered. Some guys off the bench gave us a lift. We could hear the cadets who came over from Lexington and they were inspirational. It was great for them to be here.”
“When we got it back to seven at halftime we talked about that and said, let’s just build on that. We got off to a great four minutes of the second half. Rodney hit big bucket after big bucket. Brian Brown hit some bombs and played good defense.”
“We did a good job on the boards and the guys were road warriors. We’ll just have to wait to see who we play.”