VMI struggles through cold shooting night, falls 81-51

vmiA cold shooting night cost the VMI Keydets, who fell to the Mercer Bears 81-51 in SoCon basketball action Thursday night at Cameron Hall in Lexington, Va.

The first seven-plus minutes of Thursday’s game were back and forth, but Mercer (12-14, 6-7 SoCon) started a 24-6 run with a Ria’n Holland three-pointer at the 12:28 mark. VMI (5-17, 2-9) went 2 for 16 from the floor at one point during the run that lasted nearly 10 minutes.

The Keydets were able to get back within 13 after back to back three-pointers early in the second half, but could get no closer and Mercer closed the game on a 16-2 run to pull away for the final margin.

The Keydets were led by QJ Peterson’s 18 points and seven rebounds, while Adrian Rich added 13 points and Will Miller, who tallied a career-high for the second straight game, had 11 markers.

Holland had 18 points to lead five Bears in double figures.

In the first half, the Keydets were held to a 25 percent clip (7 of 28 from the field) and VMI shot 19 of 57 overall (33.3%) to equal the team’s lowest shooting percentage in a game this season. Mercer put the game away by shooting 15 of 23 (65.2%) in the second half to increase its overall percentage to 52.8% (28 of 53).

The Bears tallied 20 of the first 24 points scored in the paint and held a 26-16 edge for the contest, as well as a 20-11 edge in points off turnovers. Mercer also dominated on the glass with a 39-28 edge.

VMI guard Julian Eleby was held scoreless, his first zero-point output in his past 66 games.

VMI basketball will return to action Saturday, when the Keydets play host to The Citadel at 1 p.m.