Second-half burst leads New Orleans past VMI Keydets, 79-71
The Privateers (3-4), trailing the Keydets 38-37 at halftime, started quickly in the second half hitting 9 of their first 12 shots from the floor to build a 61-44 lead with 12:13 left. VMI, which hit seven 3-pointers in the first half, connected on just one of its first nine tries from beyond the arc in the second half as UNO built its double-digit lead.
The Keydets regained their shooting touch canning a trio of three-pointers on an 11-2 run later in the half to pull within 70-62 following a Kamdyn Curfman 3-point goal with 4:04 left to go in regulation. The Keydets twice trimmed the deficit to six points as late as the 2:24 mark on a Sean Conway layup but could come no closer the rest of the game.
UNO shot 50.8% (30-59) while the Keydets hit 39.3% from the floor. VMI was 13-of-40 from long range and converted 10+ threes for the fifth time this season.
Senior Jake Stephens led VMI with 17 points and eight rebounds while junior Curfman added 17 points. Junior guard Conway scored 14 points including three 3-pointers and freshman guard Brennan Watkins scored a career-high 14 points including four 3-pointers.
UNO converted 11-of-12 from the free throw line including 3-of-4 in the last :28 to hold off the Keydets.
VMI outrebounded the Privateers, 35-32, and shot 10-of-12 in free throws, but committed 14 turnovers on the day.
UNO started the game on a 10-0 spurt only to see VMI rally with eight straight points and eventually take its first lead (21-19) on a pair of Honor Huff free throws. The first half saw five ties and six lead changes.
VMI returns home Tuesday night to face Clarks Summit at 7 pm.