Jake Stephens scored a game high 23 points and was one of four Keydets in double figures Saturday afternoon as VMI defeated the Furman men’s basketball team, 76-67, in Southern Conference action from Cameron Hall.
Furman drops to 9-6 on the season and 1-1 in conference play, while the Keydets improve to 9-5 overall and 2-0 in the SoCon. The Paladins have now dropped four straight on the road. However, that stretch of road games have been a gauntlet including trips to UNC, Mississippi State, and Winthrop prior to Saturday's game at VMI.
Jalen Slawson led the Paladins offensively with 20 points and added seven rebounds, five assists, two blocks and one steal. Mike Bothwell contributed 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting and pulled down a team leading eight rebounds. Joe Anderson registered his third consecutive game scoring in double digits after contributing 11 points.
Stephens had a game high 23 points on 10-of-16 shooting for VMI while recording eight rebounds, four assists and three blocks. Sean Conway contributed a double-double on 11 points and 12 rebounds while dishing out five assists. Trey Bonham had 16 points and Kamdyn Curfman also provided 11.
Furman held a 55-54 lead with 9:03 remaining in the contest following Slawson’s layup. The Keydets would then limit the Paladins to just six points over nearly an eight-minute stretch while going on a 20-6 run. Bonham would give VMI its largest lead of the game with 43 seconds to go when his jumper increased its advantage to 74-61. Hunter and Marcus Foster connected on back-to-back 3-pointers over the final 24 seconds to cut Furman’s deficit to single digits. Foster’s triple with 16 seconds left put the final score at 76-67.
The Paladins opened the game on an 11-3 run over the initial 2:49 and took an eight-point lead on a driving layup by Foster. The Keydets came back to tie the score at 13-13 four minutes later, but Furman responded with a pair of 3-pointers from Anderson. Anderson’s final 3-pointer at the 11:11 mark extended the Paladins’ lead back to six at 19-13. VMI would then score the next six points to tie the score again at 19-19 with 9:36 left.
Furman responded by going on an 11-3 run during the following four minutes and matched its largest lead of the game when Garrison’s layup made the score 30-22 with 5:50 to go. The Keydets got as close as two points twice the remainder of the half with the last coming at 32-30 with 1:19 remaining. The Paladins scored the final four points to lead 36-30 at halftime.
Furman concluded the game shooting 40.3 percent (25-of-62) from the field and held a 13-8 advantage in points off turnovers.
The Paladins are back at it on the road on Wednesday, January 5 when they travel to UNC Greensboro for a 7 p.m. tip. You can hear every Furman game, all season long on ESPN Upstate.