First-half surge lifts Furman past VMI, 76-54

vmi basketballA 17-0 Furman run midway in the first half helped erase a VMI lead and sparked the Paladins to a 76-54 win over the Keydets on Senior Night at Timmons Arena.

Furman, winners of four straight, placed four in double figures scoring and was led by sophomore guard Andrew Brown who connected on five of six shots for 15 points. Senior forward Andrew Fowler and sophomore guard Jordan Lyons added 12 points each for the Paladins (20-9, 11-5 in SoCon).

Freshman guard Jordan Ratliffe was VMI’s lone scorer with 10 points. Leading scorer Bubba Parham, who entered the game fifth in the SoCon in scoring (15.2) was held to a season low three points. Freshman guard Greg Parham dished out a career-high five assists.

VMI’s bid for a second straight road conference win in the Palmetto State started in promising fashion as the Keydets used an early 9-0 spurt to build a 16-7 lead following a Parham three-pointer which turned out to be his lone make.

Furman turned the tables later in the half capitalizing on several VMI turnovers for quick scores and taking the lead for good. A layup by Clay Mounce tied the game at 19-19 at the 7:40 mark and began 17 straight points by the hosts as Mounce also capped the run with a layup to make it 34-19. The Keydets went scoreless for over five minutes before Ratliffe canned a three-pointer.

The Keydets fought back scoring seven straight points over the last 2:15 of the opening half and trailed by a 34-26 count at the break.

After Fowler knocked in a jumper to open the second half, the Paladins never had a lead drop back to single digits for the rest of the night. A John Davis trey at the 14:00 mark put the Paladins up 51-31 and the margin reached as much as 24 points in the final minute of regulation.

The Paladins shot 51.8% from the floor and connected on 11 of 26 attempts beyond the arc 42.3% and held a 39-35 edge on the boards. Furman outscored VMI in points in the paint (34-16), points off turnovers (25-14) and fast break points (20-0).

VMI shot 31.1% from the field and was 34.6% in three-point shooting.

The Keydets return home to close out the regular season with a two-game home stand beginning Friday night against Samford. Tipoff will be 7 p.m.

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