VMI basketball loses at William and Mary, 97-67

The VMI Keydets cut a 21-point first half deficit to seven early in the second half, but the William & Mary Tribe responded with a 29-8 run to seize control and went on to a 97-67 win over the Keydets Wednesday night at Kaplan Arena in Williamsburg, Va. Trey Chapman led VMI with a career-high 16 points.

vmi_logoAfter the Tribe (3-3) had used a 38-14 first half run to take a 38-17 lead, the Keydets scored 18 of the half’s first 24 points to go into the locker room down just nine, 44-35. QJ Peterson scored the second half’s first basket, reducing the margin to seven, but Tim Rusthoven tallied two points just moments later to start the game deciding 29-8 spurt that left VMI down, 73-45. The Keydets could get no closer than 24 the rest of the way.

In the setback, VMI was led by Chapman, who posted a 6 of 9 evening while adding four rebounds and two blocks. Rodney Glasgow added 15 points as well. Peterson, who entered as the Big South’s leading scorer, had his first career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, but was held to a 4 of 17 night from the field.

Perhaps the game’s most revealing statistic, however, was VMI losing the points off turnovers battle, 16-6. It marked only the second time this season the Keydets had come out on the short end of that stat, and the six such points was a season-low, helped by the home team committing just six turnovers on the evening.

Glasgow put the Keydets on the board first, hitting a three on the first possession of the game, but the Tribe scored the game’s next six points and VMI never led again. The Keydets stayed within two, however, 9-7 until Omar Prewitt hit a three-pointer at the 16:37mark, making it 12-7, W&M. That was the first basket of a 29-10 run that gave the Tribe their biggest first half lead, 38-17 with 8:14 to go in the period.

The Keydets responded, however, with a 16-2 run over the next six-plus minutes, and when Chapman scored with 1:42 left in the half, VMI was within seven at 40-33. The home team scored four of the half’s last six points to take a 44-35 lead into the locker room, however, in a first half that saw William & Mary shoot 17 of 37 (45.9%) from the floor while holding VMI to a 13 of 34 (38.2%) pace.

The second half began much like the first, with a VMI basket. This one was Peterson’s layup to again cut the lead to seven, but the Tribe responded with the game-turning 29-8 run.

After the spurt, the Keydets got treys from Glasgow and Brian Brown to reduce the lead to 24, 78-54, but the comeback went no further thanks to back to back W&M three’s that pushed the margin to 30, 84-54. That 30-point spread would turn out to be the final margin, as the teams played evenly for the final 8:08.

In the win, William & Mary shot the same percentage from the field in both halves, 45.9%, but was much stronger from three-point range in the final 20 minutes, going 9 of 15 (60%). The Keydets finished the night 6 of 25 from distance (24.0%) and 25 of 67 (37.3%) overall. The Tribe had two players score 22 points or more, as Prewitt notched 22 markers and Rusthoven led all scorers with 26 points and added 16 rebounds.

D.J. Covington had two blocks for the Keydets and is now within just nine of tying school record holder Lewis Preston for the all-time VMI mark in that statistic (202).

VMI basketball will return to action Tuesday, taking on Elon in a road game in Elon, N.C. Game time is set for 7 p.m.

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