ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- 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.