QJ Peterson netted 25 points in his VMI debut and Rodney Glascow added 20 as the Keydets won the opening round of the All-Military Classic 82-71 over The Citadel at Cameron Hall on Friday evening. The Keydets advance to the championship game to meet Air Force, while Army and The Citadel meet in the 6 p.m. consolation game on Saturday evening.
Peterson converted 9-of-18 from the floor, including a pair from 3-point range, to key a second half charge by the Keydets. Meanwhile, Glascow was successful on 7-of-16 field goals, hitting four from beyond the arc, and grabbed eight rebounds. VMI also got solid individual efforts from Jordan Weethee (10 points, 11 rebounds) and D.J. Covington (10 points).
The host Keydets (1-0) found their range in the second half, hitting 17-of-41 (41.5%) from the floor, which led to a 32-of-80 (40%) performance. The biggest difference in the two halves was their ability to hit timely 3-pointers, draining five from long distance after the intermission.
Freshman Brian White opened his collegiate career with 21 points, hitting 10-of-18 from the floor, to lead all Citadel scorers. He was joined in double figures by Matt Van Scyoc, who recorded his first career double-double (16 points, 11 rebounds), Marshall Harris III (11 points) and Ashton Moore (10 points).
The Citadel (0-1) crashed the boards for 53 rebounds, the most since a 52-rebound effort against Chowan on Dec. 31, 2010. Along with Van Scyoc's 11 boards, the Dogs got nine rebounds from White and six from fellow newcomer Nate Bowser.
With the two teams separated by one point at the intermission, The Citadel stretched the lead to five following a White jumper and two free throws by Van Scyoc to open the second half. VMI followed with four unanswered points, trimming the lead to 42-41, but a series of baskets by Van Scyoc and White again provided the five-point cushion.
The major turning point of the game came at the 12:30 mark when VMI's Julian Eleby scored on a layup to pull the Keydets within three points of the lead, 50-47. With the Bulldogs unable to convert on the offensive end, VMI took advantage of a foul by Bowser to trim the deficit to one. A quick steal by Brian Brown, just before midcourt, resulted in Jarid Watson heading to the line for a pair of free throws.
After Watson gave VMI its first lead, 51-50, since the early stages of the opening half, the Keydets put together a 27-10 run over the next 6:53 of the contest. In that span, VMI converted five 3-pointers including three from Glascow and two off the hand of Peterson.
The Citadel made one final attempt to pull the game back to single digits following a pair of Van Scyoc free throws and a Dylen Setzekorn trey that made for a 78-65 contest, but it was not enough as `VMI advances to its second All-Military Classic finals on Saturday evening at 8:30 p.m.
White exploded in the first half, knocking down 6-of-10 from the field to go along with seven rebounds, leading all scorers. He teamed with Moore and Van Scyoc, who were responsible for eight points apiece, to guide The Citadel to 14-of-35 (40%) shooting. Among those 14 made field goals included four from 3-point range, two of which came off the hand of Van Scyoc.
VMI had a well-balanced scoring attack that included Covington (eight), Glascow (seven), Peterson (seven) and Weethee (six). The Keydets, who converted 15-of-39 (38.5%) from the floor, struggled to find their range from beyond the arc, knocking down just 3-of-16 (18.8%) attempts.
With the two teams deadlocked at nine-all just 4:24 into the contest, an old-fashioned three-point play by White gave The Citadel a 12-9 lead. Solid defense and the sharpshooting of Van Scyoc allowed the Cadets to stretch that advantage to nine, 18-9, in less than one minute.
The Bulldogs offense continued to find ways to score, taking advantage of buckets by Raemond Robinson and White to provide the first double-digit lead of the game, 24-13. A missed jumper by Brown capped off a 17-4 run by The Citadel as the Dogs forged ahead by 13 following a jumper by Moore.
Trailing 26-13 coming out of a quick breather, VMI used five points from Glascow to spark an 8-0 run and move back within five. The Citadel answered by outscoring VMI 7-2 over the next 3:14 of the game to move the lead back to double figures, 33-23.
VMI closed out the half on a 14-5 run energized by four points apiece from Watson and Peterson as it trailed 38-37 heading into the half.
The Citadel returns to action on Saturday evening against Army in the consolation game of the All-Military Classic. It marks the first time that the two teams have squared off since the 2010 All-Military Classic consolation game in Colorado Springs, Colo. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. and the game can be seen on ESPN3.