LEXINGTON, Va. - The VMI Keydets used a 52-0 edge in bench scoring, led by a career-high 18 points from Tim Marshall, to propel their squad to a 110-54 win over the Shenandoah Hornets in men's basketball action Wednesday night at Cameron Hall in Lexington, Va.
The 52 bench points were not only the highest total of the year for VMI (5-7), but marked the most since Dec. 10, 2011 against Milligan College, when the Keydets notched 61 markers off the bench. In addition to Marshall's second straight career-high game, Jarid Watson had a career-best 10 points and Dorian Albritton equaled a career-high with 10 markers of his own.
In addition, the 56-point final margin was VMI's largest lead of the season, and the biggest lead the Keydets had enjoyed in any game since Nov. 29, 2010, a 60-point cushion against Central Penn College. VMI posted its best shooting percentage of the year by going 44 for 77 from the field (57.1%), and tied a season-high in three-pointers made with 14, 10 of which came in the opening half.
12 of the 13 Keydet players to see action scored at least two points, with Rodney Glasgow joining Stan Okoye, Watson, Albritton and Marshall in double figures. All told, Okoye led VMI with 21 points and six assists, while Shenandoah's (3-9) Jared Carithers had a game-high 22 points.
The Keydets jumped out to an early 8-0 lead, thanks to five points from Okoye, but the Hornets battled back to draw within 14-7 after a Dante Serale completed a three-point play at the 14:41 mark. That, however, would be Shenandoah's final points for the next 6:33 as VMI seized control with its best run of the season, a 23-0 spurt that pushed the lead to 30, 37-7.
Okoye capped the run with a three-pointer at the 8:08 mark, and the Keydets continued to pull away, going up by 35 on a Phillip Anglade basket with 5:29 left in the half. The visitors finally notched another field goal with 4:26 showing on the clock, and were able to draw within 29 at 49-20, but VMI pushed the halftime lead back to 33, 61-28.
The 61 points marked VMI's highest first half output of the year, as the Keydets hit 23 of 34 shots (67.6%), sparked by Marshall's 17 first half markers. Overall, it was the first time VMI had exceeded 60% from the field in a half since last year's Big South Quarterfinal victory over Coastal Carolina. VMI was scalding hot from outside as well, drilling 10 of 17 (58.8%) from beyond the arc while holding Shenandoah to 9 of 32 (28.1%) in the opening 20 minutes.
Thanks to drilling four of their first seven shots from beyond the arc, the Hornets closed to within 27 early in the second half, doing so on a Carithers basket at the 12:42 mark, but the Keydets ended the brief rally with an 11-0 run that included a highlight-reel, one-handed dunk by Jarid Watson. VMI would then close the game on a 12-0 run, accounting for the final margin of 110-54.
In victory, the Keydets moved to 8-0 all-time against Shenandoah and also went to 4-1 at home on the year, the fifth straight season VMI had won at least four of its five games at Cameron Hall.
VMI basketball will return to action January 5, opening Big South play by taking on the Presbyterian College Blue Hose in Clinton, S.C. Game time is set for 7 p.m.
Quotes - VMI Head Coach Duggar Baucom
"It certainly was a collective team effort. We got off to a great start, Tim Marshall gave us a lift and the reserves came in and played well."
"I was most pleased with our defensive effort. I thought we did a great job guarding, and sitting down, locking people up and maintaining our assignments. I thought we rebounded the ball pretty well collectively. It wasn't just all Stan and D.J. tonight."
"All our focus is now on Presbyterian and trying to get better for that game."