Men’s basketball: Furman defeats VMI, 89-57

vmi basketballA strong defensive effort helped lift visiting Furman University (15-2/4-1) to an 89-57 victory Thursday evening over VMI in a Southern Conference game.

VMI freshman center Jake Stephens posted team-highs with 15 points, nine rebounds and two blocked shots. He hit 6-of-10 shots from the floor, including 3-of-5 from three-point range. Myles Lewis scored 11, while Garrett Gilkeson delivered 10 points and seven rebounds.

VMI trailed just 23-18 with under four minutes left in the first half, but the Paladins went on a 15-6 run to close out the first 20 minutes and take a 38-24 edge at intermission. Furman scored the first seven points of the second half to extend the lead to 21 and never looked back.

“We just were not moving fast enough for some reason,” VMI coach Dan Earl said. “It looked like we were in mud, whether it was grabbing loose balls, running things sharply on offense, certainly credit to Furman, they are a physically strong team – very good defensively and offensively and they made it tough for us. Certainly tough on Bubba Parham, but tough on some other guys.”

The Furman defense held Parham, the conference’s leading scorer, to just six points – all in the second half, while keeping Gilkeson off the scoreboard for the first 20 minutes as well. Furman forced VMI into shooting just 23 percent from three-point land (5-22), while hitting 44 percent (15-34) from distance.

Jordan Lyons had a game-best 21 points, and Clay Mounce drilled 4-of-5 three point attempts for 16 points along with six rebounds. Tre Clark had 13 points while Matt Rafferty stuffed the stat sheet with 10 points, seven steals and six rebounds.

The Keydets (6-10/0-4 SoCon) host Wofford College Saturday at 1 p.m., the third-straight opponent in the top of the league standings.


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