LEXINGTON, Va. - The Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs used a 52-18 edge in points in the paint to lead nearly wire to wire en route to a 86-68 win over the VMI Keydets, in non-conference basketball action Saturday night in Lexington, Va.
After going up by a game-high 22 points with 12:18 to go, GWU (4-4) did have to weather a 17-6 run by the home team (1-6). Trey Chapman, who finished with a game and career-high 22 points, capped the run with a basket with 6:28 to go that cut the margin to 74-63. The Runnin' Bulldogs scored the next six points, however, to put the game away.
VMI was led by Chapman's 22-point effort, while Julian Eleby added 15 markers. QJ Peterson was limited to 11 points on 4 of 11 shooting on a six-turnover night.
GWU jumped out to an early 10-point lead, 20-10, just over eight minutes into the game, but VMI used a 14-5 run to get back into the contest at 25-24 with 7:39 left in the half. The game stayed close for most of the rest of the period, but the visitors closed the period on an 8-0 run and took a 12-point margin to half, 49-37.
VMI was unable to get the margin to single digits in the second half.
For the game, Gardner-Webb shot 34 of 58 (58.6%) from the floor. The visitors hit a lower percentage of free throws (54.2%, 13 of 24) than three-pointers (5 of 9, 55.6%). VMI was 24 of 54 (44.4%) overall, 11 of 25 (44%) from long-range and 9 of 12 (75%) from the line.
VMI basketball will return to action next Saturday, Dec. 10, when the Keydets play the #19 West Virginia Mountaineers in Morgantown, W.Va. Tip time is set for 2 p.m. and the game can be seen on Root Sports TV.
QUOTES - VMI Head Coach Dan Earl
"They dominated us in points in the paint which was a variety of things-post ups, just driving down the lane- and unfortunately, our defense wasn't tough enough. So we have to look in the mirror and be a tougher team. We have to figure that out."
"We showed some fight, but we had something like 7 turnovers the first eight minutes of the game. That was a huge key in taking care of the ball. We fought back but the game got away from us."
"Our defense at times was just not good enough. We couldn't the contain the ball in the post and they hurt us there. But it was nice to see some 3-point shots fall for us. We did a little too much over dribbling tonight and give Gardner-Webb credit. They did a good job stabbing at the ball and they got too many steals."
"Trey Chapman came out and played a strong game throughout. He tried to compete and they have some big bodies. Certainly, we knew they were going to hit the boards. But it's got to be a team rebounding thing. It has to be everybody involved."