Athletics

Keydet Hoopsters Finish January 9-9

Greg Parham ’21, senior guard, scored 24 points in VMI’s 74-73 win over first-place Furman University, Jan. 20. The conference was paying attention: Parham racked up back-to-back SoCon Player of the Week honors in January and was one of 11 conference Athletes of the Month.—Sport Photo Guy photo courtesy VMI Keydets.

After topping Chattanooga Jan. 2, the Keydets continued adding to the “W” column. The team wrapped January with a 9-9 overall record and a 4-5 record in Southern Conference play. Highlights included a 110-103 victory over The Citadel Jan. 16 and Greg Parham ’21, senior guard, being named SoCon player of the week twice—Jan. 19 and Jan. 26. On Feb. 4, he was one of 11 students named SoCon Athletes of the Month.

Parham’s second selection marks the Keydets’ first consecutive SoCon Player of the Week honors since Jason Bell ’98 claimed back-to-back awards in weeks two and three of the 1997-98 season. Read details about Parham’s first selection here and second selection here.

Game highlights are below. For more details and up-to-date schedules and ticket information, go to vmikeydets.com.

University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Jan. 30 (L, 76-59)
Isaiah Miller, Greensboro senior guard, scored 25 points and the UNCG Spartans used a decisive second half scoring burst to power past VMI, 76-59, in Southern Conference basketball action Jan. 30 at the Greensboro Coliseum.

Miller, last season’s SoCon Player of the Year, hit 11-of-21 shots and grabbed seven rebounds as the Spartans claimed their sixth straight win and moved to 11-5, 7-2 SoCon.

The Spartans, who were second in the league in scoring defense, limited senior guard and VMI leading scorer Parham to a season low four points on the night on just 2-of-9 shooting. The Keydets labored through a tough shooting outing going 36.2% from the floor (21-58) and 23.5% from 3-point range (8-34).

Western Carolina, Jan. 27 (W, 87-61)
The Keydets outscored visiting Western Carolina University 48-24 in the second half Jan. 27 to roll to an 87-61 Southern Conference victory from Cameron Hall.

The team trailed by seven points (35-28) late in the first half but finished on an 11-2 run to lead 39-37 at intermission. The Catamounts tied the game at 41 before a 13-0 VMI surge, fueled by eight points from Sean Conway ’23, sophomore guard, opened a double-digit lead that the hosts would not relinquish.

VMI shot 61% (19-31) from the floor after intermission, including a 7-12 mark (58%) from three-point range. The Keydet defense held Western Carolina to just 24% (8-33) shooting overall and 18% (2-11) from distance over that same span. For the game, VMI shot 50% (31-62).

Mercer, Jan. 23 (L, 83-80)
Felipe Haase, Mercer redshirt junior forward, scored 23 points and hit two 3-point shots in the final 1:38 of regulation to lead Mercer to an 83-80 Southern Conference win over VMI Jan. 23 in Macon, Georgia.

The Keydets fell despite 26 points from senior guard Parham who notched his sixth straight 20-point game and eighth of the season.

The Bears twice built nine-point leads midway in the second half and led 63-54 after a Ross Cummings jumper with 9:55 left. VMI responded with an 11-3 run and pulled within 66-65 when senior forward Myles Lewis ’21 converted a 3-point play with a dunk and free throw at the 6:20 mark.

The teams battled for the remainder of regulation and the game saw four ties and six leads changes over the final three minutes. Parham had twice given VMI one-point margins following a pair of free throws at 2:23 (76-75) and a jumper at 1:58 (78-77). Haase rammed in a 3-pointer to get the Bears ahead 80-78 with 1:38 left, but Keydet freshman guard Trey Bonham ’24 answered with a layup to tie it at 80-80 at 1:21.

Haase knocked in another three-pointer 20 seconds later on Mercer’s ensuing trip down the floor to put the Bears up for good. The Keydets came up empty on their last offensive possessions as Parham missed a 3-point try that was rebounded by Mercer’s Kamar Robinson with just under a minute left. Kamdyn Curfman ’23, Keydet guard, rebounded a Jeff Gary 3-point attempt on the ensuing possession, but Parham came up short on a step-back 3-point hoist from the top of the key as the final seconds expired.

Furman, Jan. 20 (W, 74-73)
Parham delivered 22 of his game-high 24 points in the second half to lift the VMI men’s basketball team to a thrilling 74-73 win over first-place Furman University in a Southern Conference game.

Parham, then the reigning SoCon Player of the Week, was held to just a pair of free throws by the Paladin defense in the game’s first 20 minutes—but exploded after intermission. With his team trailing 60-58 with 6:29 remaining, Parham scored VMI’s next 12 points to give the Keydets a 70-67 advantage with 1:25 on the game clock. He hit two three-pointers in that span, a layup, and two contested floating jumpers in the paint.

Furman’s Alex Hunter nailed a three-pointer to tie the game, but VMI answered with a layup from senior Lewis with 43 ticks left on a backdoor feed from Parham. Following a defensive stop, junior Jake Stephens ’22 hit one of two three throws to make the score 73-70. Hunter was fouled on the other end shooting a trey and sunk all three free-throws with 9.1 seconds left to re-tie the game. Following a timeout, Trey Bonham ’24, Keydet freshman, drew a foul while driving to the hoop with 3.1 seconds left and made the first of two from the charity stripe. His second free throw bounced off the rim and Furman couldn’t connect on a desperation heave from midcourt.

Eastern Tennessee State University, Jan. 18 (L, 92-81)
A program record 16 three-pointers by host ETSU lifted the Bucs past the Keydets by a 92-81 score in a Southern Conference rescheduled game Jan. 18 at Freedom Hall in Johnson City, Tennessee.

VMI and ETSU traded baskets for the entirety of the opening half as the Bucs earned a slight 39-36 advantage going into the break. The teams continued the trend early in the second half with the game knotted at 53 apiece with 14:34 to play after Curfman scored on a fast break layup.

The Bucs then went on a 21-6 run to take its biggest lead of the contest following three consecutive treys, including one by David Sloan to put ETSU up 74-59 with 7:27 to play.

VMI was able to cut it back to single digits but could come no closer than 83-76 after a Parham free throw with 2:01 left. The Bucs played clock management the rest of the way to hold on for the league victory.

The Citadel, Jan. 16 (W, 110-103)
Stephens, junior center, scored 33 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and guards Parham and Conway each added 27 and 25 points, respectively, to lead VMI to a 110-103 victory over The Citadel in Southern Conference basketball action Jan. 16 at Cameron Hall.

It was the first career 30-point game for Stephens, as he 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-plus effort, and Conway garnered career highs both in points and rebounds with 13 while hitting a career-high seven 3-point shots.

Wofford, Jan. 13 (L, 80-78)
Storm Murphy, Wofford senior, drilled a three-pointer with 1.3 seconds left on the clock to lift the Wofford College men’s basketball team to an 80-78 victory Jan. 13 at VMI in Southern Conference play.

The Keydets trailed 77-72 with three minutes left, but Parham converted a driving layup in traffic and netted a three pointer to tie the game with two minutes remaining. The game remained tied at 77 all until Conway of two free throws with 33 seconds left and retrieved his own miss to allow VMI to maintain possession. After a Terrier defensive stop, Murphy nailed the game winner and a VMI desperation shot from midcourt fell short.

Editor’s Note: Game highlights compiled from articles published at vmikeydets.com.