VMI Basketball wraps up its three-game homestand with a matchup against the Wofford Terriers Saturday afternoon at Cameron Hall. Wofford enters the game as the only unbeaten team in SoCon league play and dominated UNCG in Greensboro Thursday night, 72-43. The Terriers enter Saturday’s game with a 13-4 overall mark and 5-0 league record. VMI enters the contest with a 6-10, 0-4 SoCon record after falling to Furman Thursday night.
Tip is set for 1 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN+.
Last Time Out
A strong defensive effort helped lift visiting Furman University (15-2/4-1) to an 89-57 victory Thursday evening over VMI in a Southern Conference game. VMI freshman center Jake Stephens posted team-highs with 15 points, nine rebounds and two blocked shots. He hit 6-of-10 shots from the floor, including 3-of-5 from three-point range. Myles Lewis scored 11, while Garrett Gilkeson delivered 10 points and seven rebounds. VMI trailed just 23-18 with under four minutes left in the first half, but the Paladins went on a 15-6 run to close out the first 20 minutes and take a 38-24 edge at intermission. Furman scored the first seven points of the second half to extend the lead to 21 and never looked back. The Furman defense held Bubba Parham, the conference’s leading scorer, to just six points - all in the second half. Jordan Lyons had a game-best 21 points for the visitors, and Clay Mounce drilled 4-of-5 three point attempts for 16 points along with six rebounds. Tre Clark had 13 points while Matt Rafferty stuffed the stat sheet with 10 points, seven steals and six rebounds.
Last Meeting with Wofford
The VMI Keydets committed 20 turnovers and shot just 3 of 23 from three-point range, on the way to a 63-46 loss to the Wofford Terriers in SoCon basketball action at Cameron Hall in Lexington. Wofford played without standout forward Cameron Jackson and saw sharpshooter Fletcher Magee go just 1 of 10 from three-point range, but the Terriers blew open the game with a 22-9 run in the final 10 minutes to pull away for the win. For VMI the story was the turnaround from the previous game win over The Citadel. The Keydets made a season-high 14 three's in that game, but missed their first nine Wednesday on the way to a 13% effort from long-range. That marked the lowest three-point percentage by a VMI club since Dec. 30, 2013. The Keydets were paced in defeat by Bubba Parham, who scored 11 points as the lone Keydet in double figures. Trevor Stumpe led Wofford with 19 points.
A win over Wofford would:
-- Move VMI to 6-3 at home in 2018-19
-- Give VMI its first SoCon win of the season
VMI vs. Wofford – This will be the 20th meeting between the teams that first met in 1970. Wofford leads the series, 13-6, and has taken the last ten meetings including wins 92-53 (Spartanburg, SC) and 63-46 (Lexington, Va.) last year. VMI last defeated the Terriers, 69-60 on February 10, 2001 in Lexington.
Stephens Steps Up
Freshman forward Jake Stephens tied a career-high with nine rebounds Thursday night against Furman, matching his output of nine rebounds against Goucher Nov. 11. Stephens just missed his first career double-double by one rebound after scoring a team-high 15 points against the Paladins. Stephens is averaging 13.0 points and 6.0 rebounds over his last three conference games.
Bubba Still on Top
Despite a season-low six points against Furman Thursday night, sophomore guard Bubba Parham continues to lead the SoCon in scoring with a 20.9 PPG average.Earlier in the season, Parham entered December with four straight 30+ point games, and became the first SoCon player to tally 30 or more points in four straight contests since Steph Curry of Davidson in 2008-09. Not just a scorer, Parham also garnered a career-high nine rebounds with a 30-point outing in VMI’s win 87-79 OT win at Stetson. Parham started his blistering four-game scoring stretch when he scored a career-high 35 points and knocked down a school record 10 3-pointers in the 92-82 loss at #10 ranked Kentucky Nov. 18. It was the first time Parham had surpassed the 30+ point plateau in a game in his career and he followed it up two nights later with 33 points against Kentucky Christian at Cameron Hall. Parham, the 2018 SoCon Freshman of the Year as selected by the media, has 15 games of 20+ points in his career following his 29 point outing vs. North Alabama Dec. 21 and 24 points at Samford December 29.