Demetrius Denzel-Dyson scored 17 to lead the way for the victors. Christen Cunningham had 15, while Alex Thompson and Wyatt Walker added 13 apiece. Q.J. Peterson paced the Keydets with a game-high 26.
It was a nine-point game, 38-29, with 19:20 to go on an Adam Rich jumper. It swelled to 22, 63-41, over the next nine minutes with the 25-12 spurt ending on Thompson’s triple with 10:43remaining.
Down 21, the Keydets weren’t done. Peterson spear-headed a 10-0 run to slice the margin to 11, 65-54. His three with 5:26 left was the closest they could get.
The Bulldogs head to the quarterfinals facing Furman at 6 p.m., Saturday on ESPN3 (WatchESPN App).
Samford (18-14) | VMI (6-24)
Samford: Led for 38:09 of the 40 minutes tonight never trailing to the Keydets.
VMI: 25-11 advantage in points off turnovers.
Samford: The Keydets 28.4 shooting performance tonight is a season-low for a Bulldogs opponent. Previous low was at Campbell in November. The Fighting Camel managed a 30.6 percent effort making 19 of 62 attempts.
VMI: Shot a season-low field goal percentage from the field tonight making 21 of 74.
Senior guard Q.J. Peterson finished his career with exactly 2,200 points and fourth place on the VMI scoring list.
Team of Destiny: Inside UVA Basketball's improbable runTeam of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25.
The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.