VMI edges Gardner-Webb, 76-75, to claim first road win
Junior guard Q.J. Peterson produced his seventh 20-point game of the year scoring 22 points and grabbing nine rebounds to help lead VMI past Gardner-Webb, 76-75 Monday night in college basketball action in Boiling Springs, North Carolina.
The Keydets (4-6) snapped a three-game skid and earned their first road victory of the season.
VMI was bolstered by balanced scoring as all nine players who took the floor for the Keydets tallied and logged at least an assist. Junior forward Trey Chapman scored 13 points, junior guard Julian Eleby added 12 points, and senior forward Phillip Anglade contributed 10 points.
The Keydets held off a furious Gardner-Webb rally to post the win. VMI led 73-62 when Trey Chapman converted a layup with 2:11 left in regulation. Adonis Burbage quickly triggered eight consecutive Bulldog points with a 3-pointer at the 2:05 mark. The Keydets missed a 3-point pointer and committed back-to-back turnovers on their next three possessions to open the door for the hosts. Peterson knocked in three of four free throws to put VMI ahead 76-72 before Burbage rained in a wing 3-pointer from the left corner to trim the lead to 76-75 with 11 seconds left. Eleby was fouled quickly on the ensuing inbounds at :08, but missed the front end of a one-and one – setting the stage for a dramatic game winning layup attempt by Bulldog guard Harold McBride who missed with two seconds left and the rebound was knocked out of bounds as time expired.
Junior forward Tyrell Nelson produced his fifth double-double of the season with 14 points and 15 rebounds and guard Isaiah Ivey added 13 points for the Bulldogs (5-8).
The Bulldogs fell to 0-8 when trailing at the half and were stymied by 13 of 26 free throw shooting in the second half.
VMI outscored Gardner-Webb 38-30 in points in the paint and generated 15 assists while holding an 18-14 edge in points off turnovers. The Keydets also generated 15 bench scoring points on the night after producing a total of 9 such points the previous two contests.
VMI was hampered by foul trouble as Anglade, Chapman and forward Fred Iruafemi had all exited the game with five personals as Gardner-Webb was mounting its comeback.
The Keydets generated a 17-2 scoring run to end the first half to convert a 43-33 deficit at the 5:28 mark into a 40-35 halftime lead.
Gardner-Webb rallied to tie the game at 48-48 when guard David Efiayani converted one of two free throws with 13:58 left before VMI ripped off a 9-0 run over the next two minutes to surge ahead in a string that was capped by a Peterson driving dunk with the shot clock winding down. Another Peterson slam follow-up dunk off an Eleby 3-pointer gave VMI its largest lead, 64-50, with 8:39 left.
VMI will resume action Dec. 30 against Bridgewater College at Cameron Hall. Tipoff will be 7 p.m.
Press Conference: VMI Coach Dan Earl
“I am proud of them. It was a very gutsy effort because we had three of our “bigs” foul out. We were undersized and we pulled it out. It wasn’t pretty. We have to learn to play defense without fouling late in the game and keep the ball in front of us and contain a little better. But having said all that, I was proud of the guys for pulling it out.
“It was a full team effort. Fred Iruafemi and Austin Vereen came off the bench to give valuable minutes along with Adrian Rich. It was a bench effort and team effort and our starters played well. We had some foul trouble, but we got in there and multiple guys tried to rebound the ball which I was proud of as well.”
“I thought the ball movement was very good and we had been focusing on that in practice. We finished with 15 assists which was good to see. This one certainly means a lot being the first road win after having come close before. And it followed a good week of practice.”