Simply put, the 2015-16 season hasn’t gone as planned for the VMI Keydets. They head into their Southern Conference finale with a 9-19 record overall, and 4-13 against conference opponents. Playing conference opponents hasn’t been too friendly to the Keydets this season, as they have two losing streaks of five or more games in conference action.
In the Southern Conference tournament, the Keydets will face off against the Samford Bulldogs, with the winner to take on the top seed in the quarter-finals.
Despite their struggles this season, the Keydets put together an impressive seven day stretch that saw them come away with a perfect 2-0 record. They are gaining momentum at just the right time, and will look to surprise a team or two come tournament time.
A big reason for their mini two-game winning streak was the play of junior guard QJ Peterson. He put together a record-setting performance on Thursday night in the Keydets’ first game of the week, then followed it up with another strong showing to close out the week.
Ever since he arrived on the VMI campus, he has been one of the top scorers in the entire NCAA. After another big week, VMI junior guard QJ Peterson is the CCR Mid-Major Player of the Week for February 22-28!
Peterson is a 6’0”, 170-pound junior guard from Hedgesville, West Virginia. Since he was a freshman, he has been a star in the Southern Conference for the VMI Keydets. Peterson has averaged at least 19.0 points per game in every season as a member of the Keydets (19.0ppg as a FR, 19.6ppg as a SO).
This season has been no different for the leader of the Keydets. In 33.3 minutes per game, Peterson is averaging 19.5 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.4 steals per contest.
With his team struggling and looking for some sort of positive momentum as they moved towards the conference tournament, Peterson put the team on his back and carried them to a perfect 2-0 week.
To start the week, the Keydets welcomed the Mercer Bears to town on Thursday night. VMI held down their home court with a 91-82 victory over the Bears, and Peterson put together a record-setting performance. He recorded 46 points (VMI single-game record), 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks, and 1 steal in the victory.
Peterson went 12-of-25 from the floor, and 17-of-18 from the free throw line on the night.
Two nights later, the Keydets took on The Citadel Bulldogs in an offensive slugfest. VMI completed their perfect week with a 111-95 victory, and Peterson was again at the forefront. He recorded a double-double of 26 points and 11 rebounds, while adding 4 assists, 2 blocks, and 2 steals.
On the week, Peterson averaged 36 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 2.5 blocks, and 2 steals per contest. He shot a combined 19-of-40 (47.5%) from the field, 6-of-17 (35.2%) from three point range, and 28-of-30 (93.3%) from the free throw line.
Even with their struggles this season, VMI seems to be picking up positive momentum at the right time. With one game left before the conference tournament, they could play the role of spoiler and give themselves a big boost heading into the post-season. With the way that Peterson has been playing as of late, they could hold down their home court one last time and knock off the Chattanooga Mocs.
Peterson is one of the more under-appreciated players in the country, and his talents often go unnoticed on a national scale. After another spectacular week, here’s to hoping more people turn their attention to VMI in the future.
Behind a record-setting performance on Thursday, and averaging a double-double over the Keydets’ two home games, guard QJ Peterson is this week’s winner of the CCR Mid-Major Player of the Week award!
Feb. 15 – 21: Stefan Jankovic – Hawaii Warriors
Feb. 8 – 14: Rokas Gustys – Hofstra Pride
Feb. 1 – 7: Alec Wintering – Portland Pilots
Jan. 25 – 31: Brett Bisping – Siena Saints
Jan. 18 – 24: Quinton Chievous – Hampton Pirates
Jan. 11 – 17: Shawn Long – UL-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns
Jan. 4 – 10: Tyrell Nelson – Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs
Dec. 28 – Jan. 3: Tanner Plomb – Army West Point Black Knights