GREENSBORO, N.C. - Trailing by 13 at the half, the VMI basketball team rallied in the second half to cut the deficit to one with three minutes to play but ultimately fell by a 74-63 score to host UNCG Sunday afternoon in Greensboro, North Carolina.
VMI (2-6, 0-1) freshman Kamdyn Curfman cut the UNCG lead to 64-63 off a three-pointer with 3:24 on the clock, but the Spartans (5-2, 1-0) went on a late 10-0 run hitting six of nine from the charity stripe to pull away at the end.
UNCG raced to a 43-30 advantage by the break but the Keydets gradually clawed back into the game during the second half to give the Spartans a scare.
“I thoughts our guys were competing really hard and I was proud of them for making a push in the second half,” said VMI head coach Dan Earl. “Credit to UNCG and Isaiah Miller - he was a man out there and hurt us with a couple of isolation plays and was tough enough to put the ball in the basket and make some plays.
“There are some things we need to clean up certainly, but I thought we competed and battled. They keep the pressure on you so for the most part I think we did a good job taking care of the ball, but there were a couple of careless turnovers. That’s something you just have to learn from and that’s part of the growth process of a basketball player. Every possession matters when it comes down to a game like that.
“Garrett Gilkeson is a veteran and he played like one. He is the anchor to our defense. I’m really proud of his effort and he knocked down some big shots.”
Gilkeson tied his career high of 21 points set last year at Virginia Tech as he went 6-8 from the field and 4-5 from three-point range toward his total. He also went 5-6 from the free-throw line and tied for the team lead with six rebounds.
VMI clamped down on defense in the second half, as well, allowing the Spartans to shoot just 27 percent in the second half compared to 64 percent from the first 20 minutes of play. UNCG won a crucial factor in second-chance points by scoring 16 points following offensive rebounds to VMI’s five.
Curfman finished the game with 15 points as the only other Keydet in double figures. Junior Myles Lewis contributed nine points in the contest.
The Keydets return to action at home Tuesday night with a non-conference matchup with Goucher College slated for 7 p.m. at Cameron Hall.