LEXINGTON, Va. - The Furman Paladins broke the game open with a 29-0 first half run and went on to shoot over 50 percent from the field in an 87-57 win over the VMI Keydets Saturday at Cameron Hall in Lexington, Va. The game was the SoCon opener for both teams.
VMI (5-7, 0-1) took an early 15-6 lead as Furman managed just three field goals over the first eight-plus minutes, but from then on, it was all Paladins (10-4, 1-0). Furman scored the game's next 29 points, capped by a Clay Mounce three-pointer at the 3:44 mark, to take a 20-point lead and went on to a 23-point halftime advantage. The Keydets got no closer in the second half as the Paladins took the conference contest.
Furman finished the game shooting 31 of 61 (50.8%) overall and a blistering 16 of 31 from three-point range (51.6%), but after VMI's 15-6 run to start the game, the Paladins would close the contest shooting a startling 16 of 27 (59.3%) from distance.
The visitors were also 9 of 18 from the free-throw line (50%).
VMI was held to 18 of 57 (31.6%) from the floor and 9 of 23 from three-point distance (39.1%), but did manage a 12 of 13 effort at the line (85.7%). The Keydets attempted just one free throw in the first half, however, a contributor to allowing Furman to pull away.
The Keydets were led in defeat by Bubba Parham, who had 21 points, as well as Austin Vereen's 12 markers. Jordan Lyons led the visitors with 17, as the Paladins won despite VMI limiting preseason All-SoCon guard Devin Sibley to a 3 of 10 afternoon from the field.
VMI basketball will return to action January 4, when the Keydets take on the Wofford Terriers in Spartanburg, S.C. Game time is set for 7 p.m.
QUOTES - VMI Head Coach Dan Earl
"We came out competing and were in it defensively and in our stance and we made some shots which helped. It was a tale of two teams and unfortunately they went on a tremendous run and turnovers really hurt us with 15 in the first half. It's really hard to win doing that and we have to do a better job taking care of the ball."
"We talk to our guys about everything matters -every pass, every pivot, every pass. Certainly you have to credit Furman. They are very physical and a veteran group and they play well together. They made it difficult for us."
"We have to learn from this and get better. No one is feeling sorry for you and our next opponent, and the one after that right on through the season, are tough as well. We just have to learn from it."