JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - Despite a heroic effort to come back in the second half after trailing by 14 at the half, the VMI basketball team came up just short of victory as the host ETSU Bucs escaped with an 85-82 win over the Keydets Thursday night at Freedom Hall in Johnson City, Tennessee.
The rally came down to the final possession as VMI's Bubba Parham shot a three-pointer with the clock was winding down but the ball was tipped by ETSU's Mladen Armus and the Keydets (6-12, 0-6) were unable to get another shot off. Parham finished the game with a game-high 25 points, his 16th career game with 20+ points.
Other notables for the Keydets included sophomore Myles Lewis scoring 17 points, one off his career high and he tied a previous career high with nine rebounds on the night. Junior Will Miller returned to action for the first time in 14 games following injury and played 12 minutes for the Keydets. VMI shot 56.3 percent in the second half after shooting just 40 percent in the opening stanza.
Sarju Patel (11) and Jake Stephens (10) also scored in double figures for the Keydets.
ETSU was paced by 23 points from Daivien Williamson while Bo Hodges (17 points) and Tray Boyd III (13) also played significant roles in the win over the Keydets.
VMI returns to action with a Southern Conference matchup at home Saturday against Western Carolina. Tip is set for 1 p.m. at Cameron Hall.
Dan Earl Quotes:
"I am super proud of the guys. We talked before the game about how we can't come out and just feel our way around and need to attack from the start. Unfortunately, it didn't start that way and was quite the opposite. We were down 18 at the eight minute mark of the first half and from that point on we were +15 for the remainder of the game. Our guys were competing. They were in a stance and fighting for rebounds. We made some shots off some really nice passes on the offensive end. We were attacking the rim as well.
"As much as it hurts because close calls aren't good enough, I'm proud of our guys and I have to believe we made a huge step moving forward.
"We've got to figure how to get over the hump, but I told our guys if we fight like that and make improvement like that, we're going to get on the right side of things and start winning games again."