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Baucom lights a fire under Okoye, Keydets
VMI’s coach demanded more urgency out of his team against Liberty, and his senior responded with 32 points as the Keydets ended a six-game losing streak.
Sam O’Keefe | The News & Advance
Liberty’s Joel Vander Pol (center) shoots over VMI defenders Tuesday. The Keydets snapped a five-game losing streak with an 83-66 win over the Flames at the Vines Center in Lynchburg.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
LYNCHBURG — After VMI was waxed by 38 points Saturday night at Marist, Duggar Baucom said his slump-ridden club required a stronger sense of urgency.
Obviously, the Keydets got the message.
Spearheaded by 32 points by senior forward Stan Okoye, the Keydets broke a six-game losing streak with an 83-66 Big South rout of Liberty in front of 2,198 fans at Vines Center.
The victory not only ended VMI’s longest skid since 2006, but was win No. 116 for Baucom, who is now tied with predecessor Bart Bellairs for most coaching victories in program history.
“Urgency ... that was the biggest difference in this game than our last six,” said Okoye, who had a career-high six 3-pointers on nine attempts. “This time we were mentally there from start to finish. We competed tonight. We haven’t really given it our all the last few games.
“Oh, it feels good. I almost had forgotten how it felt to win. We needed this, especially going into Senior Day [vs. Longwood] on Saturday, plus going into the league tournament next week.”
Okoye, whose game-high 11 rebounds enabled him to post his 10th double-double of the season, had plenty of help as the Keydets got healed on the campus started by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell.
Point guard Rodney Glasgow, who had missed all but five minutes of the past four games with a groin pull, showed up big time, hitting four 3-pointers en route to 18 points. He had six assists and was key in limiting Liberty guard Davon Marshall to five points. Marshall was 5-for-7 from beyond the arc in the clubs’ first meeting.
“I’m just glad to be back and help my team win,” Glasgow said. “We had a lot of adversity. I kept telling the guys the reason why we win is our energy. When we have our energy, we can beat anybody in the conference.
“Tonight, [Baucom] said: ‘How bad do you want it? The last five games you didn’t want it as bad as the other team.’ Well, tonight we did. As long as we have mindset I believe we can do damage.”
Center D.J. Covington had nine points and owned the paint on the defensive end, swatting away seven shots.
“Just doing all the dirty work,” Covington said. “I don’t need to score a bunch of points. I was so tired of losing. It feels good to smile again, man.”
VMI, which had shot 27 percent from 3-point range in the losing skein, was 13-for-34 (45.6 percent) against Liberty. The Keydets converted 17 offensive rebounds into a 26-9 edge in second-chance points.
“I thought our defense was subpar, I thought our rebounding was subpar,” Liberty coach Dale Layer said. “You can’t allow a good team to get extra shots. Seventeen offensive rebounds is disappointing. When you give them extra shots and they’re making the shots that they get, it makes it a tough night for us.
“When Okoye gets it going, he’s a handful. Then, Glasgow, who has been out 10-12 days comes in and starts knocking down 3s on us.”
Baucom wore a big grin on his face as his team started filing to the bus for the hour-long ride home.
“We got a lot of contributions out of a lot of people,” he said. “We finally clicked tonight. It’s been only one or two guys during this streak, but I thought we had five guys who really contributed tonight.”
VMI’s last previous win came Feb. 6 at Longwood.
“I’m glad February is over,” Baucom said. “Hey, we’ve been pretty good in March the last few years. So let’s see what happens now.”
Okoye 11-18 4-6 32, Covington 4-10 1-1 9, Gore 1-4 1-2 3, Glasgow 6-14 2-2 18, Brown 4-9 0-0 10, Burton 0-1 0-0 0, Absher 0-0 0-0 0, Stephenson 0-0 0-0 0, Carr 2-3 0-0 4, Albritton 0-2 0-0 0, Anglade 0-1 0-0 0, Marshall 3-6 0-0 7. Totals 31-68 8-11 83.
Smith 4-9 1-2 9, Coronado 3-8 1-2 7, Marshall 2-9 0-1 5, Speaks 7-13 5-6 19, Sanders 5-11 7-9 20, Roberts 0-4 0-0 0, Donley 0-2 1-2 1, Gielo 0-4 0-0 0, Vander Pol 1-2 3-4 5. Totals 22-62 18-26 66.
Halftime—VMI 45-36. 3-Point Goals—VMI 13-34 (Okoye 6-9, Glasgow 4-9, Brown 2-7, Marshall 1-3, Gore 0-1, Covington 0-1, Burton 0-1, Carr 0-1, Albritton 0-2), Liberty 4-19 (Sanders 3-7, Marshall 1-4, Speaks 0-1, Donley 0-2, Roberts 0-2, Gielo 0-3). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—VMI 46 (Okoye 11), Liberty 38 (Coronado, Smith 8). Assists—VMI 19 (Glasgow, Gore 6), Liberty 13 (Speaks 4). Total Fouls—VMI 19, Liberty 12. A—2,198.
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