Shooting costs VMI Keydets in 67-53 loss to Campbell

vmiThe team’s lowest field-goal percentage in over a year cost the VMI Keydets Saturday afternoon, as the squad fell to the Campbell Camels, 67-53, in non-conference basketball action at Cameron Hall in Lexington, Va.

VMI (1-4) had a 10-point lead early, as Campbell (2-3) made just one of its first 13 shots, but the Keydets could not pull away and the Camels took advantage. A 14-3 run gave CU the lead for good with 5:23 left in the first half, and the Camels used a field goal percentage over 65% in the second half to put the Keydets away.

All told, the Keydets shot just 20 of 62 (32.3%), the team’s lowest percentage since a 25.7% effort last November at Virginia Tech. The Keydets had 13 turnovers against just the 20 made field goals and made just 5 of 25 from three-point range (20%).

The Keydets also struggled from the free throw line (8 of 14, 57.1%), including an uncharacteristic 6 of 10 effort from QJ Peterson, who entered the game as a career 82% free throw shooter.

Campbell shot 24 of 50 (48%), including a blistering 65.2% effort in the second half.

VMI was led by Peterson in defeat, as he had 17 points, while Trey Chapman added 11 rebounds to tie a career-high. Both of the senior’s 11 rebound games have come against Campbell.

Campbell’s Chris Clemons had a game-high 24 points.

After taking an early 15-5 lead, the Keydets managed just one field goal over the next 7:28 as CU pulled ahead, 19-18. The visitors outscored the home team 24-8 over the final 11:33 and took a 29-23 edge to halftime.

VMI stayed within striking distance early in the second half, and was still within seven with 14:35 left. CU then went on a 12-3 run, capped by a Clemons three with 10:03 left, and took a 50-34 lead.

The Keydets could get no closer than 12 the rest of the way.

Saturday’s result marked only the second time in 11 meetings between the schools that the road team had been victorious. The Keydets forced a season-high tying 19 turnovers, but were undone by 13 of their own.

VMI basketball will return to action Wednesday, when the Keydets travel to Radford, Va. Tip time against the Radford Highlanders is set for 7 p.m.


Postgame: VMI coach Dan Earl

“It was a tough game all around. Actually in the first half, we played okay early and second half the same thing, but we didn’t play tough enough throughout and we have to do that.”

“We cannot be a team that when we are making shots and things are going well we are playing hard – defense, rebounding the ball, taking care of the ball, but when shots are not falling we turn into a different type of team. We got to learn and grow from it.”

“Campbell played poised and Chris Clemons made shots. He’s a tough guard and you have to stay on top of him all the time and even when you are playing good defense he hits shots.”

“Unfortunately, it seems like a lid on the basket for some of our guys. Some of it is our shot selection, but some of it is we need to knock down open shots when we have them. It becomes contagious a little bit. So we’ll continue to search for things to put guys in good positions and being able to score and get something offensively.”

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