D.J. Covington scored a career-high 37 points to lead the VMI Keydets to a 111-100 victory over the Canisius Golden Griffins in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament at the Koessler Athletic Center.
For the Keydets (20-12), Rodney Glasgow and QJ Peterson each finished with 28 points and eight rebounds, with Glasgow adding eight assists to his line, while Tim Marshall chipped in with 10 points. This was VMI's first appearance in the postseason since losing to Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament back in 1977. They will now advance to the second round to face an opponent to be determined.
Chris Perez led the Golden Griffins (21-13) with 30 points, while Billy Baron scored 24 and dished out eight assists. Dominique Raney added a career-high 20 points off the bench and Jordan Heath tallied 15 points, to go along with a team-best eight rebounds.
VMI shot 53.7 percent from the field in the first half, as the Keydets opened the game on a 15-0 run and went into the break holding a 59-45 advantage. They connected on 7-of-17 from beyond the arc in the half. Canisius shot 47.4 percent from the field in the first half, including 3-of-9 from 3-point range.
Canisius heated up in the second half, knocking down 55.9 percent of its field goal tries and 8-of-15 from beyond the arc. The Golden Griffins got to within two points down, 76-74, midway through the final twenty minutes, but the Keydets answered with a 12-2 run to regain momentum and secure the victory. VMI struggled from deep, making only 2-of-13 from 3-point range, but countered with an impressive 22-of-25 at the free-throw line.
Both squads did a lot of damage in the paint, with VMI outscoring Canisius 50-40 down low. The Keydets doubled-up the Golden Griffins in scoring at the free-throw line, 30-15. The matchup was the highest scoring game in Koessler Athletic Center history and the most points Canisius has ever allowed by an opponent in the building.