VMI rallies, but ETSU escapes with 61-55 SoCon win

vmi soccerVMI rallied from down 14 to get within four in the final minute, but ultimately fell in the final moments as host ETSU escaped with a 61-55 win over the Keydets Saturday evening in Johnson City.

ETSU (15-3, 4-1) converted 20 of 31 free throws during the game, including six of eight over the last 38 seconds of regulation, to hold off the Keydets (5-13, 0-5) for the win.

ETSU led 35-21, its largest lead of the game with 17:50 left before the Keydets rallied with a 9-2 run to trim the deficit to 37-30 following a pair of Travis Evee free throws at 13:26. The Bucs were able to push their lead back to double digits before freshman guard Kamdyn Curfman drained his first points with three consecutive treys to draw VMI within 47-39 with 8:46 left.

The Bucs started both halves on 9-0 runs only to see the Keydets respond both times.

“I was certainly proud of the guys from a defensive standpoint outside the first two or three minutes of each half,” VMI coach Dan Earl said. “We knew it was going to be a battle when the ball went up and we were not ready to go. We called a quick timeout and I thought it was a much better defensive effort after that with everyone on the same page. They’re big and strong and scored inside and hurt us, but I was proud of the guys for the defensive effort. We just have to make some shots.”

ETSU placed four in double figures and was led by guard Patrick Good with 12 points while Vonnie Patterson and Lucas N’Guessan each scored 11 for the hosts.

The Bucs keyed on VMI’s perimeter shooting and limited the Keydets to seven-of-21 beyond the arc, but VMI responded with 24 points in the paint.

Evee led VMI with 13 points and five rebounds while Greg Parham hit double figures for the second consecutive game with 12 points. Garrett Gilkeson led the Keydets on the boards with 10 as VMI outrebounded its foe, 37-33. Curfman finished with nine points while senior Tyler Creammer came up with eight.

VMI returns to action Wednesday on the road with a trip scheduled to Mercer at 7 p.m. in Macon.

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