Penn State pulls away in second half, tops VMI, 86-65

VMI AthleticsLooking to upset Big Ten opponent Penn State on the road, the VMI basketball team showed well in the first half, but faltered in the second en route to an 86-65 loss to the Nittany Lions Saturday afternoon in State College.

VMI (1-1, 0-0) trailed by just two at the half by a 37-35 tally, but Penn State (1-0) increased its defensive pressure and rallied in the latter half to earn the win over the Keydets. VMI shot 52 percent in the first half but just 33 percent in the second as Penn State pulled away.

Senior Greg Parham led VMI with 21 points on the day while sophomore Kamdyn Curfman finished with 17. Jake Stephens, Myles Lewis and Sean Conway finished with seven points apiece in the contest.

Penn State guard Jamari Wheeler led the Nittany Lions with 18 points during the game while Izaiah Brockington finished with 15. Three others ended the contest with 12 points apiece.

The Keydets earned 14 second-chance points to just six for Penn State, but the Nittany Lions tallied 34 points off turnovers that led to 18 fast-break points on the other end. Penn State’s depth also played a role as the Lions logged 23 points off the bench.

VMI next plays Tuesday night at 5 p.m. against an opponent still to be determined. Details are forthcoming and will be posted at vmikeydets.com.

Postgame: VMI coach Dan Earl

“It was obviously a tough day. Early on I thought we did some good things and we were moving the ball pretty well. Penn State wore us down and I talked to the guys about that. At the end of the day, when you have 25 turnovers and give up 16 offensive rebounds it’s tough to win a game. That was a big point of emphasis for us. You can talk about playing physical in practice, but until you get out there against guys that are athletic and strong it becomes more and more real. Penn State dialed up the pressure in the second half. Prior to that we did some good things and competed. We just have to move on and learn from it.

“Greg Parham played really well. He was the one guy who could get past his guy and into the lane and create some things. He made some shots, as well. Kamdyn Curfman also did a nice job of getting shots off and had five threes. Myles Lewis had a good second half and Jake Stephens responded late with a few baskets. We just need to be tougher overall throughout the whole course of the game.

“We need to take care of the basketball and keep the opposing team off the board. We’re not the tallest team so we need all of our guys scratching and clawing and fighting for every rebound. Offensively, we need to take better care of the ball. Credit Penn State for dialing up when they needed to. We’ll respond and we’ll get better. That’s what we’ll work on before our next game.”


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