VMI falls to Charleston Southern, 92-69

vmi_logoThe VMI Keydets chopped a 19-point lead to six early in the second half, but the Charleston Southern Buccaneers outscored VMI 31-14, including runs of 10-0 and 14-0, the rest of the way and went on to defeat the Keydets, 92-69, in Big South basketball action Thursday night in North Charleston, S.C.

With the win, Charleston Southern clinches at least a share of the Big South’s South Division title and also assures itself of a first round bye in the upcoming Big South Tournament.

After Charleston Southern (16-9, 11-3 Big South) had widened its lead to 19, 61-42, with 17:46 to play, the Keydets (11-15, 6-8 BSC) came storming back. A 13-0 run that included three three-pointers was capped by a Tim Marshall triple with 15:16 to play, forcing a CSU timeout. The timeout turned the tide, as the home team responded with a 10-0 run of its own and VMI could get no closer than 11 the rest of the way.

The Keydets were led by D.J. Covington, who scored 16 points and had three blocks, with Brian Brown and Marshall adding 15 apiece. VMI did show signs of breaking out of a shooting slump from long range, making 11 three-pointers, the most the team had made since also making 11 Feb. 6 at Longwood.

In victory, the Bucs were led by Mathiang Muo, who poured in 23 points on 8 of 10 shooting, including a startling 7 of 8 from three-point range. Muo paced four teammates in double figures and led a three-point shooting barrage, as CSU went 14 of 25 (56%) from distance on a night when its squad was 35 of 59 (59.3%) overall. CSU also held a 45-27 rebounding edge, which led to 22 second chance points.

Muo got things started for CSU with a three-pointer just 37 seconds into the game, helping the home team start the game on a 22-10 run. The Keydets settled down, however, and answered with an 11-2 spurt of their own, during which four different players scored. Covington capped that push with a basket at the 10:50 mark, a shot that made it 24-21, CSU.

The Bucs then seemed to regain control, but could not put the Keydets away. CSU widened the lead to 10, 38-28, on two Jeremy Sexton free throws at the 6:16 mark, and just over three minutes later, Sexton increased the margin to 14 with a three-pointer. The Keydets, however, scored seven of the half’s final 10 points to pull back within 10 at the break, 50-40.

The Keydets trailed in the opening half, despite holding a 15-2 edge in points off turnovers, in large part because the Bucs had shot 18 of 32 from the field (56.3%) and made 7 of 13 from long range (53.8%). Sexton had 13 for the home team, while Covington added 10 for the Keydets in the first 20 minutes.

Three quick VMI turnovers in the first 2:14 of the second half helped the home team open the period on an 11-2 run, a push that stretched its lead to a game-high 19, 61-42. That set the stage for the game-breaking exchange of runs, and when the dust had settled, a Malcolm Bernard triple had made it 71-55, CSU, with 13:35 to go.

The Keydets clawed back within 11, thanks to three-pointers by Brown and Marshall, and were still within 13 after a Dorian Albritton three-pointer with 9:42 showing on the clock, but a 14-0 CSU run broke the game open, 92-65. The Keydets scored the final two baskets of the game to account for the final margin.

The Keydets finished the night shooting 26 of 66 overall (39.4%) and 11 of 35 from the long range (31.4%). In addition to Covington, Brown and Marshall, Stan Okoye had 14 points and six rebounds in the setback.

In addition to Muo, CSU saw Arlon Harper tack on 21 points, while Sexton had 19 points and seven assists.

VMI basketball will return to action Saturday, as the Keydets travel to Poughkeepsie, N.Y. to take on the Marist Red Foxes in the Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters event. Game time for the contest, VMI’s first-ever against Marist, is set for 7 p.m.

The VMI Keydets chopped a 19-point lead to six early in the second half, but the Charleston Southern Buccaneers outscored VMI 31-14, including runs of 10-0 and 14-0, the rest of the way and went on to defeat the Keydets, 92-69, in Big South basketball action Thursday night in North Charleston, S.C.

 

VMI Head Coach Duggar Baucom

“Whatever we did in those three minutes when we cut it down from 19 to 6, we need to do that more. We played with passion, guarded, communicated with each other, and made three’s and didn’t miss layups. I told the team that has to be the formula for success.”

“They (CSU) have a great team and they played without their point guard tonight. Coach Radebaugh has done a great job collecting guys.”


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