Turnovers stymie VMI in defeat at UNCG, 76-59
Senior guard Isaiah Miller scored 25 points and the UNCG Spartans used a decisive second half scoring burst to power past VMI, 76-59, in Southern Conference basketball action Saturday night at the Greensboro Coliseum.
Miller, the SoCon Player of the Year from last season, hit 11-of-21 shots and grabbed seven rebounds as the Spartans claimed their sixth straight win and moved to 11-5, 7-2 SoCon.
The Spartans, who were second in the league in scoring defense, limited senior guard and VMI leading scorer Greg Parham to a season low four points on the night on just 2-of-9 shooting.
The Keydets (9-9, 4-5 SoCon) labored through a tough shooting outing going 36.2 percent from the floor (21-58) and 23.5% from 3-point range (8-34).
“Unfortunately, we didn’t play with the requisite toughness that you need to win a game on the road to a team as good as UNCG,” VMI coach Dan Earl said. “Credit to them, they played physical all game long. It starts with taking care of the ball and to have 20 turnovers, that led to many easy baskets, is something that we will have to tighten up. To add to that, when we did get some good looks, our perimeter shots weren’t falling tonight. However, shooting comes and goes.”’
Junior center Jake Stephens led VMI in scoring with 18 points on 7-of-14 shooting and grabbed six rebounds. Senior guard Myles Lewis added 13 points and seven rebounds and hit double figures scoring for the third consecutive game. Sophomore guard Kamdyn Curfman nailed a trio of 3-pointers and finished with 11 points.
The Keydets committed 20 turnovers – 13 in the second half – that UNCG converted into 21 points in the game.
VMI trailed 38-31 at the break and pulled within 42-41 on a Parham layup with 12:39 left. UNCG quickly turned the tide by scoring 16 unanswered points and eventually went on a 19-3 run over the next 4:50 to break the game open. The Spartans were aided by six VMI turnovers in the spurt.
The Keydets trailed by as many as 21 points 71-50 with 3:19 left and were unable to climb back within striking distance.
UNCG also got double figure scoring efforts from Mohammed Abdulsalam (13 points) and Kaleb Hunter (12 points).
VMI returns to action Wednesday night at Wofford. Tipoff in Spartanburg, S.C. will be 7 p.m.