Wofford downs VMI, 88-70

vmiForward Cameron Jackson converted 11 of 13 shots from the floor and scored 25 points to lead Wofford to an 88-70 Southern Conference win over VMI Thursday night before 1,458 at Benjamin Johnson Arena.

The Terriers won their second straight game after starting January 0-3 and moved to 8-11 overall, 3-3 in the SoCon. The Keydets dropped their second straight and now stand 4-13, 1-5 SoCon.

Wofford never trailed in the ball game held a 38-32 advantage on the boards including a 20-11 first half count. The Terriers also converted 20 of 23 from the free throw line including 13 of 15 in the first half to help build a 14-point intermission lead.

Junior forward Armani Branch, making his third career start, led the Keydets in scoring with a career-high 21 points. The Hampton, Va.  native hit 8 of 13 shots from the floor and five of six from the line to surpass his previous high of 14 points.

Guard QJ Peterson added 18 points, 14 after halftime, and grabbed nine rebounds for the Keydets and forward Trey Chapman chipped in 15 points to extend his double figures scoring streak to five games.

Despite shooting 50% from the floor in the first half, VMI trailed 49-35 at the break largely in part to Wofford’s control of the boards (20-11, 7-1 on offensive glass) which led to eight second chance points. The sharp Terrier free throw shooting also help quell a VMI rally after the Keydets had trimmed a 14-point deficit to five points (34-29)  following a 3-pointer by Keydet freshman guard Garrett Gilkeson with 5:33 left in the opening half.

Wofford countered outscoring VMI 15-6 for the remainder of the first half including an 11-0 spurt capped by a Donovan Theme-Love layup to make it 49-31 at the 1:24 mark.

The Terriers rolled out the second half by scoring the first eight points of the frame including back-to-back 3-pointers from sophomore Fletcher Magee who had converted 9 of 10 beyond the arc against the Keydets in Spartanburg last year. The Keydets battled, but were unable to cut the deficit beyond 13 points after Branch’s layup with 5:30 remaining. VMI shot 38.7% from the floor in the second half and was 5 of 21 beyond the arc for the game after hitting 25 treys over the recent two-game home stand.

The Terriers also got double figures scoring from Magee (17) and Hoover (13).  Point guard Eric Garcia dished out a game-high eight assists.

VMI continues its three-game road swing Saturday at Furman. Tipoff will be 4 pm from Timmons Arena and the game with be carried on ESPN3.

Postgame: VMI Head Coach Dan Earl

“The assist to turnover ratio on the game wasn’t great and we gave them too many offensive rebounds in the first half. But you don’t find this in the stat sheet -we were slow to loose balls and the 50-50 balls and toughness plays and that’s unfortunate. It took us too long but we did respond and play harder in the second half. Against good teams, you can’t pick your spots or you can’t turn it on late, we have to do it throughout.”

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