ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Zane Najdawi scored 16 points and No. 8 seed The Citadel held off ninth-seeded VMI 78-70 in the first round of the Southern Conference Tournament on Friday.
The Citadel (11-20) will play top-seeded UNC Greensboro (24-7) in a Saturday quarterfinal.
Najdawi was 4 of 11 from the field but made 7 of 11 of his free throws. Frankie Johnson and Matt Frierson added 12 points apiece, and Hayden Brown chipped in 11 for the Bulldogs. Frierson made four of The Citadel’s 14 3-pointers.
The Citadel had a 13-point lead with four minutes left. Myles Lewis converted a 3-point play, Jordan Ratliffe scored five points and Garrett Gilkeson hit a jumper to cap a 10-0 run to pull the Keydets to 73-70. The Bulldogs then shot just 4 of 8 from the line, but VMI missed its last six shots to end it.
Keith Smith scored 15 points and Ratliffe had 13 for VMI (9-21).