VMI Basketball: Parham leads Keydets past WCU in SoCon Tournament first round
No. 8 seed VMI got the men’s side of the Ingles Southern Conference Championships presented by General Shale started with a 96-83 win over No. 9 Western Carolina. Bubba Parham and Sarju Patel combined for 63 points to lead the Keydets.
Parham tallied a career-best 41 points, while Patel added 22. Carlos Dotson led the Catamounts with 27 points and 13 boards. Kameron Gibson also topped 20 with 23.
It was a back-and-forth game with three ties and 12 lead changes. The Catamounts led 46-45 on Marc Gosselin’s layup early in the second half. Myles Lewis answered for the Keydets, giving his squad the lead for good.
It was still a three-point game after two Dotson free throws with just over 15 minutes to go. Parham hit a jumper to jumpstart a 10-0 run that ended with Garrett Gilkeson’s and-1 with 12:03 remaining. Six times Western Carolina cut the deficit to seven, but the Cats would get no closer.
VMI moves on to meet top-seed Wofford in Saturday’s first quarterfinal game. They square off at noon on Nexstar and ESPN+.
VMI coach Dan Earl
“I’m really proud of our guys. We’re continuing to fight, we’re continuing to get better, which has been huge for us. We had a tough stretch in the Southern Conference. We gave away a few games where we gave away the lead late. I thought we’ve been better down the stretch in late game situations.
“Bubba has shown throughout the year that he knows how to score the ball. He’s doing a good job on knowing when to distribute and when to score. He’s making really good decisions. Sarju Patel is playing his best basketball, just a phenomenal game from him as well.”