LEXINGTON, Va. In the closest match in the series between the teams, the Southern Virginia Men's Basketball team put a scare into NCAA D.I VMI, but came up short 99-87. Led by Cory Evans' 23-points, the Knights were a constant menace to the host Keydets, and made a close game despite the final score line.
In a game of 4 lead changes and 4 ties SVU was able to keep a game that could have escaped from them close. Trailing at two different times by 12-points and 14-points, SVU made comebacks to get close and go up on the Keydets at two different occasions.
An early game shooting drought gave way to a 5-2 lead for the Knights, who then extended to the lead to 10-4. It would be the biggest lead the Knights would have in the game.
An Achilles heel for the Knights was there free-throw shooting. An uncharacteristic night for the Knights saw the visitors shoot 50% from the field as they went 12-for-24 from the line. Despite the poor shooting, SVU was able to withstand the bigger and stronger VMI team.
SVU tied the game at 38 with less than two minutes, and looked to take a lead, but the Keydets went on a 4-0 run to get a lead they would not relinquish for the rest of the game. VMI maintained a solid lead for the majority of the second, half, but Evans and Derek Cutler helped get the Knights to within 3-points with 3:30 to play. But that would be as close as they got, as VMI extended the lead and iced the game late on with free-throws and possession.
SVU shot 43.4% from the field on 33-of-76 shooting. The Knights were able to go 9-for-22 from beyond the three point line, but the struggle for the Knights at the line cost them a chance to keep the game close.
Despite a noticeable size disadvantage, SVU was able to out-rebound the hosts 49-46. A relatively clean game, the teams combined for only 39 fouls, and both teams committed a combined 20 turnovers.
SVU's win streak ends at 5, after their loss to another D.I member in Campbell University. SVU is now 12-5 on the season. The Knights return in an important match up Jan. 28, when they face off against Eastern Mennonite. SVU is the only loss the Royals have, and since then EMU has beaten the number one ranked D.III team in the country. Tip-off for the game is 7:00 in Harrisonburg.