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VMI, Samford advance to SoCon quarters
Courtesy: Southern Conference
Release: 03/08/2019
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Samford's Josh Sharkey
Courtesy: Carlos Morales

No. 8 VMI 96, No. 9 seed Western Carolina 83

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – No. 8 seed VMI got the men’s side of the Ingles Southern Conference Championships presented by General Shale started with a 96-83 win over No. 9 Western Carolina. Bubba Parham and Sarju Patel combined for 63 points to lead the Keydets.

Parham tallied a career-best 41 points, while Patel added 22. Carlos Dotson led the Catamounts with 27 points and 13 boards. Kameron Gibson also topped 20 with 23.

It was a back-and-forth game with three ties and 12 lead changes. The Catamounts led 46-45 on Marc Gosselin’s layup early in the second half. Myles Lewis answered for the Keydets, giving his squad the lead for good.

It was still a three-point game after two Dotson free throws with just over 15 minutes to go. Parham hit a jumper to jumpstart a 10-0 run that ended with Garrett Gilkeson’s and-1 with 12:03 remaining. Six times Western Carolina cut the deficit to seven, but the Cats would get no closer.

VMI moves on to meet top-seed Wofford in Saturday’s first quarterfinal game. They square off at noon on Nexstar and ESPN+.

No. 8 VMI 11-20 | No. 9 Western Carolina 7-25

3 Notes to Know
- First SoCon Tourney win for the Keydets since 2003 in North Charleston, South Carolina. They defeated Furman 62-56 in the first round and reached the semis with a 66-60 triumph over Davidson before having the run stopped by Chattanooga, 77-59.
- Carlos Dotson averaged 27 points and 12.5 rebounds against VMI in two meeting in 2018-19. Tonight’s 27 points and 13 boards marked his third 20 & 10 game of the year.
- Bubba Parham’s previous career high of 38 points came against Western Carolina in the Keydets’ 83-78 win in Cullowhee, North Carolina, on Feb. 23.

3 Stats to Know
- More on Parham’s 40-point night. His 41 are the most in a SoCon tourney game since March, 5, 2017, when ETSU’s T.J. Cromer scored the same total in a semifinal win over Samford en route to the Bucs’ seventh title.
- The Keydets fired a season-best 51.7 percent from 3-point range, making 15-of-29. They’ve made 31 in their last two games, both wins, shooting 46.3 percent (31-for-67) beyond the arc and 41.5 percent (22-for-53) inside it. The 15 triples fell two short of the tournament record of 17 set by VMI against Western Carolina on March 2, 1996. That did not deter the Catamounts from winning their first SoCon tournament championship, toppling Davidson 69-60 one night later.
- The two teams combined to shoot 82.7 percent from the free-throw line. VMI was 25-for-30 (83.3 percent), while Western came in 18-for-22 (81.8 percent).

No. 7 seed Samford 100, No. 10 seed The Citadel 71

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – No. 7 Samford cruised to a 100-71 win over No. 10 The Citadel in the Ingles Southern Conference Championships presented by General Shale first round Friday. Samford broke it open midway through the first half and never looked back.

Kaiden Rice pulled Citadel within two, 24-22, with a little more than 11 minutes to go in the first. Back-to-back scores from Brandon Austin, a 3-pointer, and Robert Allen pushed the lead to seven. Zane Najdawi scores sandwiched a Deandre Thomas three for a six-point Samford advantage.

Ruben Guerrero put the exclamation point on an 11-0 run over a five-minute span increasing the lead to 43-26. Alex Reed and Hayden Brown scored to get the margin back to 13, but Allen’s slam sent Samford into the break ahead by 15, 45-30.

The lead reached 20 three minutes into the second 20 on Myron Gordon’s three-point play. Najdawi sliced it to 17, 69-52, at 13:01, but that’s as close as they could manage. Sharkey free throws and five points from Stefan Lakic extended it to 76-52. The Citadel clawed back to the 18-21 range, but Samford pulled away with Lakic’s layup with 24 seconds to go providing the final tally.

Samford advances to face No. 2 UNCG in Saturday’s third quarterfinal game. They meet at 6 p.m., on Nexstar and ESPN+.

No. 7 Samford (17-15) | No. 10 The Citadel (12-18)

3 Notes to Know
- Samford junior point guard Josh Sharkey set the school’s single-season assist record with his second of the night. He now has 232 on the season and set the career record, now at 534, earlier this year.
- The Citadel played without leading scorer Lew Stallworth. He averaged 20.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game this year. He was ruled ineligible due to a class issue. Stallworth was a second-team All-SoCon performer.
- Samford’s 100 points is the first time a SoCon team topped the century mark in a tourney game since ETSU did in the 1991 championship game with a 101-82 victory over Appalachian State on March 3.

3 Stats to Know
- Samford shot 60.4 percent tonight making 34 of 56. It was the fourth time the Bulldogs topped 60 percent this season with a high of 66.7 percent (38-for-57) in a 107-106 overtime loss at Wofford.
- Conversely, The Citadel struggled shooting the ball, making just 38.4 percent (28-for-73), 28.9 percent (13-for-45) beyond the arc.
- One more shooting note, Samford was absolutely scintillating inside the 3-point arc, sinking 23 of 32 for 71.9 percent.

2019 Ingles Southern Conference Men’s Basketball Championship presented by General Shale schedule
Friday, March 8 (ESPN+)
Game 1 - (8) VMI 96, (9) Western Carolina 83
Game 2 - (7) Samford 100, (10) The Citadel 71

Saturday, March 9 (ESPN+/Nexstar)
Game 3 - (1) Wofford vs. (8) VMI, 12 p.m.
Game 4 - (4) ETSU vs. (5) Chattanooga, 2:30 p.m.
Game 5 - (2) UNCG vs. (7) Samford, 6 p.m.
Game 6 - (3) Furman vs. (6) Mercer, 8:30 p.m.

Sunday, March 10 (ESPN+/Nexstar)
Game 7 - Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner, 4 p.m.
Game 8 - Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner, 6:30 p.m.

Monday, March 11 (ESPN)
Championship game, 7 p.m.

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