LEXINGTON, Va. - The VMI Keydets took control of the game with a 24-5 run late in the first half, and went on to a 78-47 win over the Southern Virginia Knights in men's basketball action Tuesday night at Cameron Hall in Lexington, Va. The victory was VMI's 11th straight in a home opener.
The visitors had kept the game close early, as there were four ties and three lead changes in the first nine-plus minutes. Julian Eleby drilled a three-pointer with 10:48 left in the first half, however, giving the Keydets (1-1) a 15-14 lead. VMI would lead the rest of the way.
The Keydets were paced by Eleby for the second straight game, as the senior scored 18 points in just 21 minutes. QJ Peterson chipped in 17 and moved past Ramon Williams '90 for ninth place on VMI's all-time scoring list.
SVU (0-1) was led by guard Rashay Douglas, who was 6 of 10 from the floor for 16 points, and the Knights were able to shoot 50 percent from the floor in the second half (9 of 18).
After the game-breaking run gave VMI a 20-point lead at halftime, the Keydets were never threatened the rest of the way. VMI managed a game-high 32-point lead with just over three minutes remaining and cruised from there.
For the game, VMI finished with a 40-18 edge in points in the paint and a 23-2 lead in points off turnovers. The Keydets shot 32 of 80 overall (40%) and 10 of 33 from three-point range (30.3%). SVU was 17 of 49 for the contest (34.7%) and 1 of 9 from long range (11.1%).
VMI basketball will return to action Saturday, when the Keydets travel to Blacksburg to face the Virginia Tech Hokies. Tip time is set for 7 p.m.
Quotes - VMI Head Coach Dan Earl
"Once we got our feet under us we played much better. I give Southern Virginia credit. They came out moving faster than us. Simply put...but that can't happen. I talked to our guys about having a level of maturity where regardless of who you are playing you have to come out with the right amount of energy. I didn't think we did that from the jump tonight."
"I thought our ball movement was pretty good throughout. We picked it up defensively a little bit and started trapping and knocked down some shots after missing early. You don't want to be a feel good team where you're making shots when things get better, but we want to have our defense control things and then making shots helps things going forward."
"I thought for the most part we stayed true to what we tried to do. Be unselfish with the basketball in the offensive end and then defend. Certainly we have a lot of things to work on, still learning whether it's terminology, position on defense, but it was good to get the young guys minutes."