VMI drops regular season finale to Samford, 84-78
It was the regular season finale for both teams.
The squads will square off again next Friday in the first round of the SoCon tournament in the 8/9 game that will tip at 5 p.m. in Asheville, N.C.
Sophomore forward Robert Allen scored 23 points and grabbed six rebounds to lead the Bulldogs (10-22, 4-14), while SoCon leading scorer Josh Sharkey tossed in 20 points and handed out seven assists to help secure a Senior Day win.
The Keydets (8-23, 3-15) placed six in double figures scoring for the second time this season and first since Jan. 8 and were led by freshman guard Kamdyn Kurfman with 16 points including four three-pointers with all scoring in the second half. Also in VMI double figures scoring were Greg Parham (13 points, 8 rebounds) , Jake Stephens (12 points) Travis Evee and Sean Conway each with 11 points, and Myles Lewis with 10 points.
Samford dominated the boards 47-39 including 18 on the offensive glass – 15 of which came in the second half.
The Bulldogs also converted 20 of 26 free throws while VMI was just 1-of-3 from the line.
Samford led 71-61 with 7:30 remaining in the contest before VMI ripped off 12 unanswered points behind a three-point barrage to grab a 73-71 lead with 5:57 left. Curfman drilled three of the long shots while Conway added another during the run.
Sharkey converted a three-point play in the next possession to put the Bulldogs ahead 74-73, but the Keydets were able to retake the lead the rest of the way and were hampered by five subsequent turnovers including two in the final :23 of regulation. The Bulldogs hit four of six free throws over that span to put the game away.
The game saw 12 lead changes and ten ties during regulation.
VMI blocked a season-high seven shots including four by Stephens which tied a career-high.
The Keydets, who entered the game ranked third in Division I in three-pointers made per game, hit 15-of-40 from beyond the arc including 11 in the second half to give VMI 16 total games this season with 10+ threes.
VMI and Samford will meet in the opening round of the SoCon tournament for the third time over the last five years.