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VMI drops regular season finale to Samford, 84-78

VMI AthleticsSamford scored the final six points over the last 1:15 of regulation to defeat VMI 84-78 Saturday afternoon in Southern Conference basketball action at Pete Hanna Center.

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.