VMI tops Winthrop 75-55 in Big South semifinals

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) D.J. Covington scored 16 points and led Virginia Military Institute to a 75-55 win over Winthrop Thursday night in the Big South Conference semifinals.

The Keydets (17-15), who got a double-double from Stan Okoye (13 points, 10 rebounds), scored first and never trailed. VMI is the first seventh seed to reach the Big South championship game since 2005.

Covington didn't miss a shot, going 6 for 6 from the floor and 4 for 4 at the foul line. He recorded four blocks.

For the Keydets, who split two regular-season games with sixth-seeded Winthrop (12-20), it was their third straight win, fifth in the last six games.

VMI was up 39-29 at halftime and 50-40 with 11:44 remaining before storming to its largest lead, 71-47, with 2:50 left. Ron Burks added 11 for the Keydets.

Winthrop's Andre Jones and Reggie Middleton each scored 14 points, the only Eagles in double figures.

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