VMI gets career effort from Stephens, outraces The Citadel, 110-103
Jake Stephens scored 33 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and Greg Parham and Sean Conway each added 27 and 25 points, to lead VMI to a 110-103 win over The Citadel in SoCon action Saturday at Cameron Hall.
It was the first 30-point game for Stephens in his career. The junior went 11-of-22 from the floor and converted eight-of-nine from the line for the big scoring day.
Parham posted his third straight 20-point+ effort, and Conway garnered career highs both in points and rebounds with 13 while hitting a career-high seven thre-point shots.
The Keydets (7-6, 2-2 SoCon) bounced back from Wednesday’s heartbreaking 82-80 loss to Wofford Wednesday night by shooting 52.2 percent from the floor and canning 12-of-27 beyond the three-point line.
Senior guard Kaiden Rice, who tops the SoCon in three-point field goals per game, led the Citadel with 29 points, including seven threes, while senior forward Hayden Brown added 19 points and eight rebounds for the Bulldogs (8-2, 1-2 SoCon).
VMI converted 26-of-30 free throws, including 14-of-16 over the last 5:37 to hold off a Citadel rally.
The Keydets led 82-67 for their largest margin of the contest with 9:04 left in the second half following a Parham jumper in the lane. The Bulldogs quickly responded with a 7-0 run to climb back, and later pulled within 106-100 on a Brown layup with :24 left.
Conway responded by converting two free throws at the :20 mark to push the cushion back to eight points, and Citadel guard Brent Davis rammed in a 3-pointer to make it 108-103 with 16 seconds remaining.
VMI inbounded and guard Kamdyn Curfman was fouled and sank two free throws with :09 to cap the scoring and send the Keydets to their fourth straight win over the Bulldogs.
“Preparing for The Citadel takes years off your life, because they are so hard to prepare for,” VMI coach Dan Earl said. “I told the guys to keep fighting and keep swinging and there were going to be runs both ways. They (The Citadel) can certainly shoot the ball and we had some guys have some tremendous games scoring the ball. Super proud of the team effort.”