Bubba Parham scores 31 as VMI defeats Mercer 84-71
Parham, the conference’s leading scorer, has eight 30-point games this season and tonight’s outburst was his second-straight contest over the 30-point mark.
VMI led 43-42 at halftime, behind five three-pointers and 20 points from Parham. The Keydets held a 73-70 advantage with 4:34 remaining and took over defensively the rest of the game, forcing the Bears to miss their last six shots and finished on an 11-1 run.
Parham finished with six three pointers and was 9-9 from the free-throw line with four assists. Sophomore Myles Lewis had 11 of his 17 points in the second half and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. He also blocked a career-high three shots, all after intermission, and added three assists and two steals.
Junior Garrett Gilkeson posted 14 points, five rebounds and three assists and sophomore Sarju Patel contributed 12 points and six rebounds, hitting 3-of-4 three-point tries.
VMI blocked five shots on the night, the most against a Division I opponent this season.
Mercer (11-18/6-11) had four scorers in double figures, led by Ethan Stair’s 22. Ross Cummings had 15, but only three in the second half, and Jaylen Stowe had 13 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Marcus Cohen tallied 10 points and seven assists.
The Keydets (9-20/3-14 SoCon) wrap up the 2018-19 regular season Saturday by hosting The Citadel at 1 p.m. in Cameron Hall.
Postgame: VMI coach Dan Earl
“It was another true team effort. I was proud of the guys against Western Carolina last time out and we like to think we’re playing our best ball late which is what you want to do. We have a huge one Saturday (The Citadel).”
“It really was a variety of guys to the win – four guys in double figures – but even a guy like Tyler Creammer late getting some defensive stops and grabbing some big defensive rebounds. Every little thing matters and we got great contributions from everyone.”
“I thought Myles Lewis was awesome. There was a stretch tonight during a timeout when we told them we needed a little more energy and a little more pop, and Myles seemed to be everywhere for about a four-minute stretch. That really helped us and got us and the crowd back into the game.”
“I think our guys have gotten better at decision making and knowing where to be and what their looks are and certainly taking care of the ball with seven turnovers is a huge key.”
“We hit threes and got to the free throw line and Bubba Parham was able to knock them down near the end of the game. He also made good decisions coming off screens and spraying the ball.”