Marshall 70, VMI 65
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) _ Freshman Skip Henderson scored 21 points and joined senior Jeff Battle in igniting a second-half surge that led Marshall to a 70-65 victory over VMI and the second straight Southern Conference basketball tournament title for the Thundering Herd.
With the championship comes a berth in the NCAA tournament for Marshall, 21-12. VMI dropped to 16-14.
The Keydets and the Thundering Herd had battled evenly through the first half and 10 minutes into the second half before Henderson and Battle did their damage.
A Gay Elmore jumper with 9:52 left to play pulled VMI to within 47-45, but they would be the last points the Keydets would score in the next three minutes. During that time, Battle scored on a jumper and two layups, while Henderson, the league’s freshman of the year, hit a jumper and three free throws.
One of those free throws came after a technical foul was assessed on the VMI bench. The 11-0 run put Marshall in command by a 58-45 count with 6:47 left, but the Keydets, whose fans yelled ″Never say die″ throughout the tournament, put up one last fight.
Darren Sawyer hit six free throws in a 10-2 Keydet surge that got VMI within 60-55 with 4:04 remaining. After Jeff Guthrie’s two free throws with 2:38 left, VMI got four more points on an Elmore baseline jumper and a Cedric Wins jumper in the lane. Those baskets cut the score to 62-59, but that was as close as the Keydets could get.
Guthrie scored 16 points and Battle had 12 for Marshall.
Elmore scored 17 points and was named the tournament’s most valuable player. Wins had 12 and Sawyer added 11 for the Keydets.