Conway, SC - Big South Player of the Year Stan Okoye scored 31 points and VMI hung on to defeat state rival Longwood 90-86 Thursday in the Big South Conference quarterfinals.
VMI led by 12 at the half and stretched the margin to 17 before the Lancers charged back to within two with 14 seconds left.
Michael Kessens poured in a career-high 36 points and pulled down 16 rebounds for the Lancers, who won their first tournament game as a Big South member on Tuesday.
Okoye scored 25 of his 31 points in the first half, held to six in the second half. But he got plenty of help, D.J. Covington finished with 26 points and Rodney Glasgow 22. The Keydets, who improve to 14-and-16, will play Charleston Southern in Saturday's semifinals. Longwood closes the season at 8-and-25 but the Lancers played well the final month of the season.