LEXINGTON, VA. -- Freshman Brian White made a strong college debut with 21 points and nine rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to carry The Citadel to victory in the Bulldogs’ basketball season opener.
Despite a 13-point lead in the first half, The Citadel dropped an 82-71 decision to VMI on Friday in the first round of the All-Military Classic. The Bulldogs (0-1) will play at 6 p.m. Saturday against Army, a 79-68 loser to Air Force.
The Citadel and VMI were tied at 56-56 before the Keydets (1-0) broke off a 15-0 run to pull out to a 71-56 lead. The margin reached 18 at 78-60.
“VMI is a good team and they’ve got some shooters,” Citadel coach Chuck Driesell said. “They are playing at home, so we knew they might make a run, and they did.”
Freshman guard Q.J. Peterson scored 25 points and backcourt mate Rodney Glasgow had 20 for VMI. The Keydets made just 8 of 35 from 3-point range, but three treys came during the decisive run.
The Bulldogs had a familiar problem with 20 turnovers, 10 of them from the starting backcourt of Marshall Harris and Ashton Moore.
“That’s the tale of the tape for us,” Driesell said. “That’s something we’ve been talking about, and it’s a key to winning for us. We can’t turn the ball over that much.”
White, a 6-6 forward, hit 10 of 18 shots and blocked two shots to go with his nine rebounds.
“When he gets going, he is a rhythm guy and he looked good tonight,” Driesell said. “I know he’s disappointed we didn’t win that game, as all our guys did. It’s unfortunate his performance will go overlooked.”
Sophomore Matt Vany Scyoc added 16 points and 11 rebounds, though he was just 3 of 14 from the field. Harris added 11 points and Moore 10 for the Bulldogs, who shot 33.3 percent from the field and made 6 of 21 from 3-point range.
The Bulldogs started quickly, building a 26-13 lead before VMI cut the margin to 38-37 by halftime.
The game was televised nationally on ESPNU.