VMI Basketball: Greg Parham lifts Keydets over The Citadel 81-78
VMI took a 73-70 lead with 2:06 left in the game on a corner three-pointer from freshman Jake Stephens. The Bulldogs’ Lew Stallworth answered on the other end to tie the game. Greg Parham hit a trey at the 1:01 mark on a feed from Stephens, and The Citadel cut the advantage to one on a Zane Najdawi layup. Greg Parham hit his second late three-pointer with 15 seconds left to make it a four-point game, but Stallworth again nailed a three-point basket with nine seconds left to cut the lead to 79-78. Junior guard Garrett Gilkeson converted a pair of free throws and The Citadel could not convert a 30-foot shot to try to force overtime.
Gilkeson finished with 19 points and a team-high eight rebounds while Sarju Patel tied his career-high with 19 points, fueled by five three-pointers. Bubba Parham dealt out a career-best nine assists and added 15 points while Greg Parham finished with 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting from behind the three-point arc. Stephens posted seven points and five boards and Myles Lewis added six points and five rebounds.
Najdawi netted a game-high 25 points for The Citadel (12-17/4-14 SoCon) and grabbed seven rebounds. Stallworth scored 21 points along with a game-high 10 rebounds and five assists, and Conner Kern tallied 12 points and nine caroms. Matt Frierson scored 13.
VMI (10-20/4-14 SoCon) won the turnover battle 16-8 and out-scored the visitors 19-6 in points off turnovers. The Citadel had a 32-14 edge in points in the paint and out-rebounded the Keydets 41-33.
The Citadel led 46-34 at the half and maintained the advantage until a pair of Gilkeson free throws at the 3:06 mark.
The two teams’ last head-to-head battle was decided at the buzzer as well, as The Citadel scored as time expired to defeat VMI 84-82 in Charleston, S.C. on Jan. 26.
The VMI win paired with Western Carolina’s 81-74 setback at ETSU Saturday afternoon gave VMI the No. 8 seed for next week’s 2019 Ingles Southern Conference Basketball Championship presented by General Shale by virtue of a three-way tiebreaker between the Keydets, Western Carolina, and The Citadel. VMI will face Western Carolina Friday, March 8 at 5 p.m. in the first round of the event at the U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville, N.C. For tournament info and tickets, go to www.soconsports.com.