VMI basketball holds on against High Point, 70-67

vmi_logoThe VMI Keydets rallied from a 16-point second half deficit to climb within one point late, but a Rodney Glasgow three-pointer as time expired was no good and the High Point Panthers held on for a 70-67 win in Big South basketball action Wednesday night in High Point, N.C. With the win, High Point moved into first place in the Big South’s North Division and clinched both a share of the division title and a first-round bye in the upcoming Big South Championship.

After the homestanding Panthers (15-13, 11-4 Big South) had led wire to wire, VMI closed the gap to one with 2:57 to play. HPU scored the next two hoops, however, pushing the lead to five at 68-63 and setting up one last comeback try for the Keydets. D.J. Covington scored with 1:24 to go, making it 68-65, and after an exchange of missed three-pointers in the final minute, Trey Chapman stole the ball from Jorge Perez-Laham with 13 seconds on the clock, leading to a VMI timeout.

Tim Marshall then missed a three-pointer that would have tied it, but Chapman was fouled underneath. The freshman converted both free throws, as did Devante Wallace at the other end for High Point. Down 70-67, the Keydets inbounded the ball long to Glasgow, but his deep three was too strong as time expired and the Panthers held on.

In the loss, Covington led the way for the Keydets (17-11, 10-5 Big South) with 19 points and 14 rebounds, notching his 15th double-double of the year, while Glasgow and Marshall added 15 points apiece. Marshall was 4 of 8 from three-point range in the setback. In perhaps the stat of the game, however, VMI made only two of the 22 three’s Marshall did not take on the evening.

High Point was led by John Brown, who had 27 points and 10 rebounds.

High Point sprinted away in the early going, helped by three Keydet turnovers in the first 2:26, and led 11-2 early on. From there, the next several minutes were mostly back and forth play until Covington picked up his second foul at the 9:46 mark with VMI down, 25-16. Despite that, the visitors were able to stay within shouting distance as the HPU lead got no higher than 11 until the Panthers scored seven of the half’s final nine points to take a 39-25 lead into the locker room.

The major first half factor was VMI’s struggles shooting, as the visitors made just 10 of their 34 shots (29.4%) and managed just 1 of 12 from long range. Covington finished the half with eight points and eight rebounds, but played only 12 minutes due to his three fouls. High Point, meanwhile, blistered the nets to a 55.2% from the floor in the first 20 minutes.

HPU started the second half much the way it did the first, pushing its lead to a game-high 16 after a Perez-Laham layup with 15:53 to go. The home team was still up 13, 49-36, when QJ Peterson started VMI’s rally with five straight points, the last of which was a triple at 12:32, making it an eight-point game. Moments later, Marshall hit a three to cut the lead to five as VMI went on a 13-3 run that, when it ended on a Covington hoop at 9:21, had cut the lead to 52-49.

The Panthers managed to push their lead back to six twice, the last of which came at 59-53 with seven minutes to go, but after another Marshall three cut that lead in half 16 seconds later, it sent up the final frenetic minutes beginning with Glasgow’s basket to make it a one-point game with 2:57 to go.

High Point could get no greater than a five-point lead and VMI had eight possessions in the final 6:44 with its deficit at three points or less, including five in the last 2:57, but could not complete the comeback.

The Keydets finished the game 25 of 67 from the field (37.3%) and 6 of 30 from three-point range (20%). High Point was 29 of 56 (51.8%) and 3 of 14 (21.4%), respectively. VMI held a 41-34 edge on the boards in the setback, just the team’s second loss this season when outrebounding its opponent.

Despite the loss, VMI remains alive for the top seed from the north division, but the Keydets need a High Point loss to Campbell Friday and a Keydet win over Longwood in the regular season finale Saturday.

VMI basketball closes out the regular season Saturday, facing Longwood in Farmville, Va. Game time is set for 4:30 p.m.

 

QUOTES – VMI Head Coach Duggar Baucom

“We lost that game in the first half – probably the first two minutes. We just came out and they punched us in the mouth and we turned it over and did things we normally don’t do. You’re not going to win many games when your top three shooters go 2-for-19 from 3-point range.”

“We were fortunate it was a three-point game. It could have been worse than that.”

Tim Marshall gave us a lift. He made our only three in the first half. He made three in the second half and played confident and I was pleased. That was the lone bright spot of the game. 15 points in 21 minutes. That’s pretty good.”

“We just didn’t play well and this game was reminiscent of the Charleston Southern tournament game last year. It seemed like every time we made a little run, something squelched it.”

“This is the first time we’ve needed help all season (in the division race). I told the team to not cry about this one and come out ready to work Thursday and Friday as we prepare for Longwood.”



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