VMI drops heartbreaker to Samford 84-77 in OT

vmi basketballVMI led for nearly 37 minutes Saturday afternoon, but visiting Samford University rallied for an 84-77 overtime win in Southern Conference play.

The Keydets had a 67-53 advantage with 6:32 on the game clock after a dunk from Myles Lewis. A 12-0 Bulldog run over the next four minutes cut the lead to just two and VMI still had a two-point edge in the closing seconds of regulation. Brandon Austin finished in the paint with 13 seconds left to tie the game and a VMI potential game-winner with two seconds left didn’t go down to force overtime.

“It’s tough. Certainly for our players, I feel for them – their heads are down,” VMI coach Dan Earl said. “They will pick their heads up and we talked about that. I thought we fought all game. It’s tough for all our fans and cadets who have been so good to us coming out and supporting us.”

Samford quickly took control of the extra session, opening a 79-72 lead. VMI cut the edge to two (79-77) with 1:45 remaining after a pair of Jake Stephens free-throws, but a traditional three-point play from Ruben Guerrero on Samford’s next possession provided a five-point cushion. The Bulldogs held VMI scoreless the rest of the way. Samford shot 4-of-5 from the floor in the extra five-minute overtime period, while VMI was just 2-of-11, including 1-of-8 from distance.

Junior guard Garrett Gilkeson filled the stat column with 13 points, a career-high 14 rebounds and seven assists before fouling out. Bubba Parham had 15 points and seven assists while Stephens also had 15 points with four three-pointers. Myles Lewis had 12 points, eight rebounds and a pair of steals and Sarju Patel and Tyler Creammer each had nine points. Creammer had a pair of clutch three-point baskets midway into the second stanza to keep the Keydet led in double digits.

Guerrero paced Samford (15-11/5-8 SoCon) with 19 points, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots. Austin posted 19 points and seven boards, and Josh Sharkey contributed 15 points, nine assists and five rebounds. Myron Gordon finished the afternoon with 12 points and four assists and Robert Allen added 10 points and seven caroms.

VMI led 37-33 at halftime, hitting eight three pointers in the game’s first 20 minutes. Samford led 22-19 with nine minutes left in the half, but a 14-2 run over the next four minutes gave the Keydets a 33-24 edge. Stephens and Parham each drilled two three-pointers in the surge.

VMI (7-17/1-11) travels to Wofford College Thursday evening at 7 p.m. for another SoCon game.

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