VMI's D.J. Covington recorded a double-double of 26points and 12 rebounds, and added six blocked shots, to lead the Keydets overCharleston Southern, 92-84, at Cameron Hall on Saturday afternoon.
QJ Peterson scored 22 points and VMI (14-9, 7-3 BSC)point guard Rodney Glasgow tallied 18 and seven assists as the trio powered theKeydets to a fourth straight victory. CSU (10-13, 4-6 BSC) was led by 17 pointsand four assists from junior Saah Nimley, who returned from injury aftermissing two games. The Bucs struggled offensively, though, shooting 34 percentfrom the field overall while making only 7-of-22 attempts from three-pointrange.
CSU trailed 14-7 early but rallied to take a 26-22 leadat about the midway point of the first half. The Bucs still led by threemoments later, only to see VMI rip off a 20-3 run to take a 14-point lead andcontrol of the game. VMI led 50-38 at halftime and never let its lead fallunder eight in the second half.
CSU sophomore Malcolm Bernard recorded his first careerdouble-double with 16 points and a career-best 12 rebounds in a losing effortfor the Bucs. Cedrick Bowen made his first start of the season and finishedwith 13 points, while Arlon Harper and Paul Gombwer each contributed 10.Gombwer also pulled down 11 rebounds – nine on the offensive glass – for hissecond double-double of the year.
Covington scored six of VMI's first eight points of thecontest as the Keydets took an 8-7 advantage in the last regular season meetingbetween the two programs as Big South Conference mates. Glasgow and Brian Brownadded three-pointers to push the VMI lead to 14-7 at the 16:08 mark of thefirst half.
Trailing 20-15 with 14:21 left in the opening stanza, CSUengineered an 11-2 run to take a 26-22 lead. Layups by Bernard and WillSaunders sandwiched a Sheldon Strickland three from in front of the VMI benchto tie the score at 22 apiece. Nimley hit a free throw, and Bernard buried atriple from the right wing to cap the spurt and put the Bucs up by four.
Two Bernard free throws gave CSU a 28-25 lead with 9:48left in the opening stanza, but VMI responded with a 20-3 run sparked by Brown.The left-handed shooting Brown accounted for nine straight VMI points withthree treys, the last of which gave the Keydets a 34-29 advantage. Covington thentook the reins from Brown during the critical stretch, pumping in eight in arow of his own to build the VMI lead to 42-31 on a turn-around jumper in thepaint. Glasgow splashed through a three to cap the surge, giving VMI a 45-31lead with 4:06 remaining in the period.
Peterson, the Big South's leading scorer entering play,scored 17 of his 22 points after halftime to help VMI keep CSU at bay. Heopened the second half scoring with a long three-pointer for a 53-38 lead, theKeydets' largest at the time. CSU responded with ten of the next 13 markers toclose within 56-48 at the 16:47 mark, as Nimley and Gombwer drilledback-to-back threes from the left wing.
The Bucs were held scoreless for the next 4:31 of thegame, however, as the Keydets went on a 9-0 run to take a commanding 17-pointadvantage. VMI accounted for its largest advantage of the contest with six freethrows and a Glasgow fast-break three.
Despite receiving a spark from Nimley, Bernard and Bowenat times in the second half, CSU could never get a sustained run generated. VMImaintained its advantage at the free-throw line, converting 20-of-26 attemptsfollowing intermission.
CSU did come within 90-82 with 57 seconds left, as Harperfollowed a Gombwer layup with a baseline jumper following a steal by Bernard.It was not enough, though, as VMI held on to its share of the Big South NorthDivision lead while CSU dropped its second straight game.
CSU is back on the road Thursday, as it heads to HighPoint for a 7 p.m. matchup with the Panthers.