Twins Set New NCAA Basktball Record

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Travis and Chavis Holmes have shot their way into the NCAA
record books, becoming the highest scoring twin brothers in
Division I history.

The 6-foot-4 brothers play at Virginia Military Institute for
coach Duggar Baucom, who gave them a chance when it seemed few
others would. The twins combined for 47 points Saturday in the
Keydets' 92-85 win over High Point to set the record and keep VMI
on track for a possible return to the NCAA tournament.

"We haven't really accomplished all we wanted to accomplish
yet," Chavis Holmes said this week, before he scored 27 points and
his brother added 20 to move them 10 points past former VMI twins
Ramon and Damon Williams as the top-scoring twin brothers with
3,262 points.

Johnny & Eddie O'Brien of Seattle University were believed to be
the highest scoring twin brothers, but the NCAA said Friday that
their record did not count because they only played part of their
careers at the Division I level.

The NCAA doesn't keep scoring records for twin sisters.

"Hopefully, at the end of the season, we'll be able to look
back on this and thank God for what he's done for us because we're
in the NCAA tournament," Chavis Holmes said. "If we don't make it
to the NCAA tournament, the rest of it won't be as fulfilling as it
could be."

At 16-3 overall and 8-1 in the Big South Conference, the Keydets
have a shot to break a 31-year postseason drought at a school where
success has been elusive.

The football team hasn't had a winning season since 1981, and
basketball success has been just as difficult to come by. The
1975-76 team went to the NCAA quarterfinals, losing to Rutgers, and
the 1976-77 team reached the round of 16 before losing to Kentucky.

Since then? Nothing.

No NCAA tournament. No NIT. Only four winning seasons.

It was as if VMI had dropped off the college basketball map.

Then, in 2005, Baucom arrived at VMI. A couple days later, so
did the Holmes twins.

Baucom, who got the VMI job late in the signing period, had
recruited the twins while at Tusculum College but was certain
they'd end up at a Division I school. His first call after being
hired was to David Gaines, the basketball coach at the Christ
School in Arden, N.C., where the Holmes brothers had just led his
team to a state championship.

"I got the job on a Wednesday. They visited on Friday and
committed on Saturday," Baucom said. "They've made me look like a
smart guy.

"They were my first signees. I told their mama one time at an
awards banquet that I just hate that she didn't have triplets. I
would have loved to have three of them."

Two, it turns out, has been enough to help turn the Keydets
around and energize their fan base. Last weekend, VMI drew a record
crowd of 5,029 for a home game against Liberty.

This season's team was the first to win 10 games before January.

The brothers aren't keen on talking about their record, but
others celebrate it, especially since it has come in a year when
they are leading a renaissance in VMI basketball.

"This is how they should go out," Gaines said. "In the year
in which they're going to break that record, I think the fairytale
ending is obviously to get that NCAA bid and see how that style of
play works out on a stage like the NCAA tournament. They deserve

Somewhat fittingly, the last team they played in the NCAA
tournament was Kentucky. In its season opener, VMI beat the
Wildcats 111-103 at Rupp Arena.

The Keydets have hardly looked back since, losing only to
Virginia, Jacksonville State and Liberty, the latter ending a
10-game winning streak that prompted the sellout last weekend.

Baucom's fast-paced system has helped the Keydets lead the
nation in scoring, or be close, in each of his four seasons. It
also highlights the skills of the long, lean Holmes twins.

"The way VMI plays with the pressing and shooting the 3s and
pushing the ball and all that, that's great for their talents and
skills," Gaines said this week. "They were such thieves for us.
We ran a 2-2-1 press both years they were here and they both got
dozens of steals for us because they're long and they anticipate
well and they're deceptively quick."

Two years ago, Travis led the nation in steals with 111 in 33
games. This season, he'd lead the nation with an average of nearly
4 if he hadn't sat out five games with an injury. Chavis is ranked
second with 3.5 thefts per contest.

Gaines said the arrival of the twins at Christ School as juniors
sparked a vast improvement in his own program, which has since sent
several players to ACC schools.

Baucom, too, said their presence has made what the Keydets have
done possible.

"The foundation of our program has been those kids since they
walked onto campus," he said. "I tell my assistants all the time
that we won't appreciate this year until April or May, when we're
on the golf course. Then we'll look back and say, 'Wow, that was
pretty special."'

Before then, though, the twins have that NCAA bid squarely in
their sights.

"It will be a nice going-away present," Travis Holmes said.
"It's not finished yet."