RALEIGH, N.C. – Kicking off the 2017-18 season on the road against an ACC opponent, the VMI basketball team fell by a 102- 67 score Friday night at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina.
The Wolfpack raced out to a 56-34 lead in the first half after shooting 54 percent (20 for 37) from the field including four three-pointers and 12 free throws. The production did not slow much in the second half for NC State as the Pack shot 47 percent from the field and went 10-for-13 from the charity stripe en route to the win.
"It seems hard to take positives out of a game when you lose by the margin we did, but there were some positives about it,” said VMI head coach Dan Earl. “We got some experience for our guys. They (NC State) are a good basketball team and physically strong and athletic. It took us a little while to get settled - we had that shell shock look early with the big crowd and under the lights.
“In the second half, I thought we did a better job of attacking more and got to the free throw line a lot more which certainly helped. You can't turn the ball over 21 times and we didn't shoot it well from three which made it a hard night. But we got some experience and some guys did pretty well.”
The Keydets were led by freshman Bubba Parham’s 22 points as he converted two treys and went 4-11 from the field in addition to going a perfect 12-for-12 from the free-throw line. Sophomores Keith Smith and Tyler Creammer each scored 10 points while freshman Sarju Patel added seven.
"I thought Keith Smith had a good all-around game as did Bubba Parham who is one of our freshmen,” Earl said. “They both made free throws and we shot it well from the line."
The Wolfpack were led by Allerik Freeman’s 17 points and was trailed closely by Torin Dorn’s 16 points and 15 from Lennard Freeman. NC State proved dominant in the paint with 56 points and scored 27 points off VMI turnovers.
"The plan is we are going to move forward and get better every day and the guys stayed positive in the huddle tonight,” Earl said. “I thought everyone stayed dialed in and we just have to learn from it and get better. Part of this whole journey for us is to get guys experience."
The Keydets return to action Tuesday when they face Duquesne on the road. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.