LYNCHBURG, Va. – VMI senior guard Rodney Glasgow scored 25 points and freshman guard Q.J. Peterson added 18 points and 12 rebounds as the Keydets defeated Liberty, 77-70 Saturday night before 2,595 at the Vines Center.
With the win, the Keydets rebounded from an earlier mid-week home loss to Coastal Carolina and secured sole possession of first place in the Big South North Division with a 8-4 league mark, a half-game ahead of High Point which stands 7-4. The Keydets (15-10) also won for the seventh time over the last nine outings. Liberty (9-18, 3-9) dropped its sixth straight game.
Glasgow tallied 14 points in the second half on his way to a team-high 25 markers that included three treys. The senior also dished out seven assists while Peterson, the leading scored in the Big South, posted his third double-double of the season and his 15thgame of 20 or more points.
VMI senior center D.J. Covington overcame a 4-of-11 shooting night and logged his 13th double-double of the season with 12 points and 12 rebounds and his turnaround lane jumper with 1:59 left in regulation tied the game at 68-68. Covington rebounded a John Caleb Sanders miss on the ensuing possession and VMI called a 30-second timeout. Peterson then scored on a driving layup to put VMI up for good, 70-68 at the :56 mark. Covington seconds later blocked a Sanders shot which was rebounded by Peterson and Glasgow was fouled at the :33 mark and converted a pair of free throws to push the Keydet lead to 72-68. Liberty forward Antwan Burrus hit what turned out to be
Liberty's final bucket of the night to trim the lead to two, but the Keydets behind Jordan Weethee, Phillip Anglade, and Covington drained five of six from the charity stripe over the final :23.9 seconds to seal the win.
VMI hit 15 of 17 from the free throw line on the night while Liberty labored through a 6 of 17 outing in free tosses.
Weethee hit double figures for the second game with 14 points. Burrus paced the Flames in scoring with 23 points and drained 11 of 19 shots from the field. Sanders and Davon Marshall contributed 11 and 10 points, respectively, for the hosts.
The Keydets were edged on the boards Saturday, 42-40, a far cry from the -21 margin in the first meeting between the teams when Liberty prevailed 85-80 at Cameron Hall.
Liberty raced to a 6-0 lead behind the shooting of Burrus and led 10-5 before the Keydets caught stride and put together a 12-5 spurt capped by a Weethee putback that gave VMI a 17-15 lead at the 11:08 mark of the opening half. The Keydets kept rolling with eight more points to extend the margin to eight and assumed its largest lead of the first half when back-to-back treys by Weethee and Peterson gave VMI its largest lead of the half, 31-22, with 2:54 left.
The Keydets led 33-26 at the break and appeared poised to break the game open when a 9-0 run capped by a pair of Trey Chapman free throws gave VMI its largest lead of the game, 46-34, with 15:46 lef t in the second half. The Flames erased the deficit over the next three minutes with a 12-0 run that ended when Burrus's pushed in a shot to tie the game at 48-48 with 12 minutes left. Liberty hit 10 of its first 15 shots from the field in the second half to pull even after shooting 38% in the first half.
The game saw two more ties and two lead changes before Covington and Peterson hit their decisive field goals under the two-minute mark of regulation.
VMI won its second straight games at the Vines Center in its final trip to Lynchburg as members of the Big South Conference.
VMI returns home to face North Division rival Campbell (6-6) Wednesday night at Cameron at 7 pm.
From Liberty athletics:
LYNCHBURG, Va. – The Liberty men's basketball team looked to snap a five-game skid, Saturday night, playing host to VMI in final regular-season Big South meeting between the two teams. Down by as much as 12, the Flames countered with a 12-0 run in the second half. However, an aggressive layup by QJ Peterson allowed VMI to break a late-game stalemate in the final minute, setting up a 77-70 Keydets victory.
With its six-straight defeat, Liberty falls to 9-18 on the year and 3-9 in Big South action. VMI improves to 15-10 overall and 8-4 in conference play to maintain its spot at the top of the North Division. They Keydets now lead the all-time series, 16-15.
Antwan Burrus led the Flames' offensive attack with 23 points, followed by John Caleb Sanders and Davon Marshall, who had 11 and 10 tallies, respectively.
Rodney Glasgow concluded the night with a game-high 25 points. Peterson finished with a double-double, garnering 18 points and 12 rebounds. D.J. Covington also had a double-double, posting 12 points and 12 boards. Jordan Weethee contributed 12 tallies off the bench.
The Flames concluded the night shooting 47.0 percent (31-of-66), compared to 38.8 percent (26-of-67) for VMI. Dale Layer's squad outmuscled VMI in the paint, 50-28. However, Liberty struggled from the foul line (6-of-17) and the three-point arc (2-of-8). The Keydets capitalized on their opponents' long-range and free throw shooting woes, knocking down 10 three-pointers and going 15-of-17 at the charity stripe.
Liberty jumped out to a 6-0 lead with two Burrus baskets and one from Smith. Liberty maintained its advantage until a Tim Marshall three-pointer knotted the contest, 13-13. The Keydets later went on top, 17-15, with a Weethee bucket at 11:14.
VMI led by as much as nine during the half, thanks to a Peterson trey with 2:54 left in the period. Liberty managed to cut it seven at halftime, 33-26.
Burrus led all scorers during the half with 10 points. Glasgow and Weethee paced the Keydets offense with eight points apiece.
Liberty shot 35.1 percent during the opening period, while VMI finished with 37.9 percent (11-of-29). Liberty outscored VMI in the paint (18-10), but the Keydets held the advantage from beyond the three-point arc (18-0).
The Keydets jumped out to a 12-point lead early in the second period to lead, 46-34, at the 15:46 mark. The Flames responded with a 12-0 run, highlighted by seven points from Davon Marshall. A Joe Retic jumper knotted the contest at 46 with 13:10 remaining.
VMI took a six-point lead thanks to a Glasgow trey at 6:57. Liberty later brought about the seventh tie of the game with a 6-0 burst capped by back-to-back Sanders' layups. The senior's second layup made it 66-66.
With the contest tied at 68 in the final minute, Peterson drove in for a key layup to put VMI up by two. The Flames were forced to foul during the remaining seconds, resulting in the 77-70 final.
Liberty returns to action Wednesday, squaring off with High Point on the road. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m.