ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Keith Gabriel scored 14 of his game-high 20 points in the first half as Virginia Military Institute advanced to the Big South Conference tournament semifinals by defeating Coastal Carolina 85-68 Wednesday.
The seventh-seeded Keydets (16-15), who had lost eight straight to the No. 2-seeded Chanticleers (19-11), scored nine consecutive points, seven by Gabriel, for an early 9-2 lead and never trailed again.
VMI, which shot 27.8 percent in an 81-64 loss to Coastal on Saturday, improved to 57.1 percent (28 of 49), including 14 of 28 on 3-pointers. Jordan Weethee, who had 15 points, made 5 of 6 3-pointers.
Coastal cut a 43-37 halftime deficit to 45-44 with 14:54 remaining before VMI scored the next 10 points.
Sam McLaurin led the Chanticleers with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Kierre Greenwood had 11 points and eight assists.
The Keydets will play Thursday night against the winner between Campbell and Winthrop.