VMI Basketball: Keydets fall short in second-half rally at Wofford

vmi basketballA furious second-half rally wasn’t enough against the Southern Conference leader as VMI fell 95-84 to Wofford Thursday night at Richardson Indoor Stadium.

Wofford won its 13th straight game to run its SoCon league mark to 14-0, but not without a fight as the Keydets trimmed a 28-point second half deficit to single digits twice before regulation expired.

“I was proud of our guys for not hanging their heads,” VMI coach Dan Earl said. “They (Wofford) are a good team and a veteran team and obviously undefeated in the conference. Unfortunately, we dug ourselves too big of a hole to climb out of, so we can learn from that.”

Both teams rode points off turnovers to spark key runs in each half. In the first half, Wofford converted 12 VMI turnovers into 20 points to build a 53-28 halftime lead but in the second half the Keydets turned the tables by parlaying 10 Wofford turnovers into 23 points.

The Terriers led 73-48 at the 11:09 mark of the second half and appeared ready to cruise to its 14th home win of the season before the Keydets turned course and rattled off 16 unanswered points to trail 73-64 following a Bubba Parham 3-pointer with 8:03 left.

Wofford responded with an 11-2 run led by back-to-back treys by Magee and Hooover to push the Terrier lead back to 18 points, 84-66. VMI again pulled with single digits with :30 seconds left in regulation but could come no closer despite 16 second half points from Lewis.

VMI sophomore guard Bubba Parham pumped in 30 points –his sixth game of hitting or surpassing the 30-point threshold this season while sophomore guard/forward Myles Lewis scored a career-high 22 points to lead the Keydets.

Fellow sophomores Sarju Patel and Greg Parham contributed 14 and nine points, respectively.

“Bubba Parham certainly has range and if he makes a couple of those long shots, it opens things up and they have to play out even further,” Earl said. “He continues to make great decisions and we just have to move the ball over and put together a full 40 minutes instead of a half or 30 of the 40 minutes.”

Wofford (22-4, 14-0 SoCon) got a game high 19 points from guard Storm Murphy – 13 coming in the opening half – while shooting guard Fletcher Magee labored through a 6-for-14 shooting night, but made it count with five 3-pointers to finish with 18 points.

Wofford shot 15 of 20 from 3-point range for 51.7% as seven different Terriers connected from beyond the arc.

The Keydets (7-18, 1-12) shot a season-best 57.6% from the floor for the game after going 22 of 34 in shooting (64.7%) in the second half.

“I thought we showed great fight and resolve and showed more aggressiveness in the second half,” Earl said. “They are a physical team and physical on ball screens taking us out of our stuff and we talked about being stronger with the ball and driving downhill and creating. We did a much better job of that in the second half.”

VMI wraps up its two-game road swing Saturday at Furman. Tip-off will be 4:30 p.m.



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