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VMI Pulls Away from Flames in Final Minute, Saturday
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.