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VMI Keydets fall to Presbyterian at UNO Classic, 59-54 

VMI AthleticsSophomore guard Rayshon Harrison scored 22 points including 19 in the second half to lead the Presbyterian College Blue Hose to a 59-54 win over the VMI Keydets Wednesday afternoon in the first day of the UNO Classic at Lakefront Arena.

The Blue Hose (3-2) posted their second win over the Keydets in two weeks after prevailing 73-72 in OT November 12 in Clinton, South Carolina.

Harrison, who scored a career-high 32 points against VMI in the first meeting between the teams, was held to just three first half points as the Keydets took a 29-27 halftime lead.

Harrison took control early in the second half scoring the first seven unanswered points out of the locker room and finished with a dunk to spark a 9-0 run and give the Blue Hose its biggest lead of the second half, 36-29, with 16:14 left.

VMI battled back to tie the game four times and took a 51-47 lead with just over four minutes in regulation on a Jake Stephens hook shot before a 6-0 spurt pushed the Blue Hose ahead for the contest. A Brandon Young layup followed by a pair of Harrison free throws tied the game at 51-51 with 3:29 left and Winston Hill converted a layup with 2:14 left to put Presbyterian up for good. PC’s Kirshon Thrash added  a three-pointer to make it 56-51, but VMI’s Kamdyn Curfman answered with a trey to pull the Keydets with two at 1:26, their closest margin down the stretch.

Offensive rebounding played played a major factor in the outcome as it did in the first game between the teams. The Blue Hose outrebounded VMI on the offensive glass, 18-7, which led to a 17-2 advantage in second-chance points.

The Keydets were also held to a season low 7-of- 26 in 3-point shooting after coming into the game averaging 15.5 threes per contest.

Curfman and Stephens paced the Keydets (2-3) in scoring with 17 points each while Connor Arnold grabbed a team-high six rebounds.

Harrison was joined in double figures by Trevon Reddish-Rhone, who scored 10 first half points.

VMI continues play in the UNO Classic Thursday against Central Arkansas with tip-off at approximately 4:20 pm ET.

VMI coach Dan Earl

“It was another tough game for us. Unfortunately, it was a very similar story. We gave up 18 offensive rebounds and had 15 turnovers. That is not a formula conducive to winning. Credit to Presbyterian, they executed their game plan.

“We have little time to turn around for tomorrow’s game against Central Arkansas. We have to be committed to improving our rebounding and taking care of the ball. We will continue to tweak things to get this turned around.”