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VMI rally comes up one point short in loss at ETSU

VMI AthleticsDown by a 47-30 count at the half, the VMI basketball team rallied to score 49 points in the second half, but came up a point shy as the Keydets fell 80-79 to host ETSU Wednesday night.

The Bucs (9-6, 1-1) got ahead early in the first half by a 20-10 score, but VMI (9-6, 2-1) rallied to trim the deficit to 26-22 following a Kamdyn Curfman layup with 6:44 to go before the break. ETSU got going again, however, to score 21 points from that point on until the half and the Keydets struggled to keep pace to go into a 47-30 hole after the first half of play.

Looking for its seventh win over the past eight games and hoping to snap a 12-game sked against the Bucs, VMI rallied in the second half to claw back from a 19-point deficit and gradually cut into ETSU’s lead. The Keydets eventually accomplished the feat by tying the score at 63-63 with 8:29 to play following a Tanner Mans three-pointer.

The teams played point-for-point a few minutes before ETSU built a gradual seven-point lead at 76-69 with 3:20 left on the clock. VMI’s Trey Bonham hit a trey to make the score 76-72 for the Bucs, but VMI ran out of time to complete the rally as ETSU escaped with the 80-79 victory.

Senior center Jake Stephens finished with his 11th career double-double as he ended up with 29 points and 15 boards in a complete 40 minutes of play. Curfman finished the game with 17 points while Tanner Mans and Trey Bonham also came away with double figures with 13 and 10 points, respectively.

David Sloan led the Bucs with 20 points on the night while Ledarrius Brewer ended up with 19 and 13 points, respectively. ETSU took advantage of nine VMI turnovers and converted them into 16 points during the contest.

VMI will look to rebound Saturday at home with a Southern Conference matchup against UNCG at 1 p.m. at Cameron Hall.

Postgame: VMI Head Coach Dan Earl

“There were some things late obviously that we could have made an extra play or two, but truthfully this game wasn’t about late-game plays -I was proud of clawing back, but this game, it was the first half, it was obvious. The Southern Conference is too good and a team like ETSU is too good to come out and not be crisp and sharp as possible. Honestly, we missed a lot of open looks as well, but when you give up 12 first half offensive rebounds and multiple on one possession, you’re not dialed in enough. We just have to learn to play two halves and come out with the right aggressiveness and not have to claw our way back.

“We did have a good response and our guys competed throughout – they didn’t give in, which was a good sign and something we can build off, but we can’t dig ourselves a hole like we did in the first half.”

augusta free press
augusta free press