VMI topples Wofford in OT, 84-80
Senior guard Greg Parham and junior center Jake Stephens each scored 22 points to help lead VMI to an 84-80 overtime win over the Wofford Terriers Wednesday night in Southern Conference action at Richardson Indoor Stadium.
The win was VMI’s first win over Wofford since Feb. 10, 2001 when the Keydets (10-9, 5-5 SoCon) prevailed 69-60 at Cameron Hall.
The Terriers (11-6, 8-3 SoCon) had claimed the previous 16 meetings in the series which was interrupted for 11 years when VMI competed in the Big South Conference.
The win was also VMI’s tenth of the season, surpassing last year’s win total with over a month to play.
“I am super proud of our guys,” Keydets coach Dan Earl said. “That was a hard-fought victory and I think our guys competed throughout the entirety of the game. Obviously, we played our starters a ton of minutes, but they played extremely hard. Wofford is a program that I have an enormous amount of respect for, so to beat them on the road, after we lost a heartbreaker at home, at the buzzer, makes this extra special.”
The Keydets trailed 74-66 with 1:52 remaining in regulation after Wofford guard Ryan Larson hit a jumper. The Terriers called timeout to set up final strategy, but the Keydets erupted out of the pause by outscoring the hosts with the final eight points of regulation. Stephens started the rally with a 3-pointer at 1:43 and a Parham layup and free throw with 1:03 left that cut it to 74-71.
Wofford missed a 3-pointer in the ensuing possession and VMI called timeout at the :22 mark. The Keydets inbounded and worked the ball inside to senior guard Myles Lewis who converted a layup with :13 left to tie the game at 74-74.
Wofford senior guard Storm Murphy, who hit a game-winning three against VMI on January 13 at Cameron Hall, missed a pull up 10-foot jumper with :04 left and the Keydets rebounded to force their first overtime game of the season.
VMI quickly seized control of the game in overtime scoring the first eight points of the session while the Terriers came up empty on their first six possessions and missed their first seven shot attempts. Parham put the Keydets up for good with a jumper at 4:45 in OT and was followed by a Stephens jumper and Parham 3-pointer to push VMI ahead 81-74 with 1:31 left.
Lewis converted one of two free throws to make it 82-74 with :34 on the clock but Murphy answered with a 3-pointer five seconds later to pull Wofford within 82-77. Keydet sophomore guard Sean Conway then converted two free throws to push the margin back to 84-77 at the :17 mark. It was just enough cushion as Wofford freshman Max Klesmit drained a 3-pointer with :09 left, but the Terriers could come no closer.
All five VMI starters reached double figures and provided all 84 points of scoring. Curfman finished with 15 points including a trio of 3-pointers while Conway and Lewis added 14 and 11 points, respectively.
Wofford placed five in double figures scoring and was paced by Larsen who scored 14 points while Murphy and Sam Godwin each contributed 13 points.
The Keydets outrebounded the Terriers, 42-32, and won for only the second time after trailing at the half in 10 games this season.
VMI also knocked off a residing SoCon first place team for the second time this season. The Keydets handed the 4-0 Furman Paladins their first league loss on Jan. 20 in Lexington.
VMI returns to action Feb. 10 when it wraps up the three-game road swing at Western Carolina.
Tipoff at the Ramsey Center will be 7 p.m.