VMI Basketball drops Heartbreaker 58-56 to Marist
Courtesy: SportsPhotoGuy.com for VMI

VMI Basketball drops Heartbreaker 58-56 to Marist

LEXINGTON, Va. – Michael Cubbage converted a driving layup in traffic Friday evening to give visiting Marist University a 58-56 victory over the VMI men’s basketball in non-conference action from Cameron Gym.

The Keydets nearly won their 2019-20 home opener in thrilling fashion, but Garrett Gilkeson’s three-pointer from just over mid-court grazed off the rim.

VMI led by as many as 13 in the first half, and held a 38-29 lead at halftime. Sophomore center Jake Stephens paced the Keydets with 10 points in the first 20 minutes to go along with five rebounds.

The Keydets held a 52-44 edge with 11:02 left on the game clock, but scored just four points, both jumpers from junior Myles Lewis, the remainder of the way. Marist tied the game 54 all with 4:20 left, and Lewis gave the Keydets a 56-54 advantage at the 2:48 mark. Cubbage hit a jump shot with 55 ticks left to tie the game to lead to his game winner.  

The Red Foxes held VMI to just 27 percent (7-26) shooting after intermission and 13 percent (2-15) from three-point range.

Stephens finished with a team-high 12 points and tied for the team-best with eight boards. Lewis had 11 points, and freshman Kamdyn Curfman drilled three three-pointers for nine points. Gilkeson totaled six points, eight rebounds, four assists and two treys, and Will Miller hit all three of his field-goal attempts for six points.

Cubbage scored a game-high 19 points for the Red Foxes (1-0), 15 in the second half, with seven rebounds. Zion Tordoff posted 14 points and seven rebounds and Tyler Saint-Funcy had 10 points.

VMI (0-2) hosts Presbyterian College (S.C.) Monday at 7 p.m.

Quotes from head coach Dan Earl:

“It was a bitter pill. It’s tough. We have some upset guys in the locker room. I thought we executed well on offense in the first half and it was disappointing on both sides of the ball in the second half. For one, credit Marist. They just spread us out and drove us and just said we’re the tougher team and for whatever reason we didn’t respond -we couldn’t get stops or rebounds. Offensively, unfortunately, we missed some shots and you could see us get a little tight to be honest. So we have to learn from this. We missed some shots certainly from three in the second half, two-for-15 in the second half, missed some free throws and unfortunately in basketball, it’s an unforgiving game and we were telling the guys about moving on to the next play. That’s what you have to do and we didn’t do that well tonight.”

“Monday night (with Presbyterian) will be another opportunity and you have to spend some time thinking about this game (tonight) but at the same time ready to turn the page. We have to learn from it, but it’s time to move on.”