LEXINGTON, Va. - The VMI Keydets used a 15-6 run midway through the second half to put away the scrappy Ohio Valley Fighting Scots and win, 81-66, in NCAA basketball action Tuesday evening in Lexington, Va.
After trailing by 15 at the break, the hard-fighting visitors cut the VMI (2-2) lead to five on three occasions in the second half, the last of which came with 13:50 to go at 52-47. Bubba Parham immediately answered with a basket at the other end, starting the run that put the game away, as Ohio Valley (1-3) did not get within single digits the rest of the way.
In the victory, Bubba Parham led VMI for the second time in the season's first four games, as the freshman tallied 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Keith Smith (15) and Jordan Ratliffe (14) also scored in double figures for a Keydet team that forced 23 turnovers.
On the other side, OVU shot 57.7% from the floor in the second half to fuel its comeback attempt, but could not overcome 30 Keydet points off turnovers. Parker Black led the Fighting Scots with 14 points.
The Keydets jumped out to a large lead in the first half, a margin that got as high as 18 points in the closing minutes of the period. VMI led by 15 at the break, 45-30, behind 12 points from Bubba Parham and a 30-12 edge in points in the paint.
OVU, however, used an 8-0 run early in the second half to close within five, 48-43, with 16 minutes remaining. The Fighting Scots were also within five at 50-45 and 52-47, but VMI answered with baskets on its ensuing possession both times to stave off the upset attempt.
For the game, VMI shot 32 of 71 from the floor (45.1%) and 14 of 16 (87.5%) from the line, but just 3 of 21 (14.3%) from three-point range. OVU went 25 of 51 (49%) overall, with a 6 of 19 (31.6%) effort from three-point range and a 10 of 17 (58.8%) performance at the charity stripe.
VMI basketball will return to action Saturday, when the Keydets travel to Washington, D.C. to take on American. Game time is set for 4 p.m.
QUOTES - VMI Head Coach Dan Earl
"Ohio Valley played hard and we knew that coming in. They drive the ball very hard and they're a physical team. I was happy that we pulled the win out, but I told our guys after the game you have to bring your best effort every possession and certainly every game you go out."
"We continued to compete and it's nice to go into Thanksgiving with a win rather than a loss. We got some stops when we needed to and put the ball in the basket after missing some shots early in the second half. We can take some positives from this game and learn from it."