BLACKSBURG, Va. – Despite a second career double-double for senior forward Myles Lewis, the VMI basketball team came up a little short in its upset bid at No. 16 Virginia Tech with a 64-57 loss Thursday night at Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg, Virginia.
Lewis garnered a team-high 13 points and logged a season-high 12 rebounds to help VMI to the near upset as the Keydets led with under 10 minutes to play. Down 30-23 at the half, VMI roared back early in the second half but eventually lost grip of momentum as the Hokies pulled away for the win.
Three other Keydets finished the game in double figures as senior Greg Parham had 12 points, junior center Jake Stephens ended up with 11 and freshman guard Trey Bonham registered 10.
Down 36-29 with just over 15 minutes to play, sophomore Kamdyn Curfman hit a three to give the Keydets momentum and sparked a 10-3 run to knot the score at 39 apiece with 11:12 on the clock.
The Keydets and Hokies battled to a 45-45 tie with seven minutes to play before Virginia Tech eventually grabbed an insurmountable 59-51 advantage with under two minutes left.
Keve Aluma led Virginia Tech with 17 points on the night while Tyrece Radford poured in 13. Wabissa Bede (11) and Justyn Mutts (10) also finished in double figures.
The Keydets resume play Monday night as they host Regent University at 7 p.m. in Lexington.
VMI head coach Dan Earl quotes:
“Credit to Virginia Tech. They figured out how to win down the stretch. I’m proud of our guys for fighting and clawing and scrapping. The game got down to the last 5-6 minutes, or winning time, and they turned it up a notch. We gave up a few and-ones, gave up a 50-50 ball, and had a few big turnovers and they were able to pull it out. Mike Young does a heck of a job. I’m always rooting for him when we’re not playing him. I don’t want this to come across the wrong way, but I’m tired of losing games to him and have him say something nice afterward. I root for him all the time – he’s a tremendous coach. I’m hoping we can figure out how to get out of the hump and pull one of these games out.
“We kept fighting and scrapping and defending pretty well for the most part. We played to their tendencies and what they do best. We defended each individual guy pretty well, forcing guys who dribble left to go to the right. We tried to make it tough on (Keve) Aluma – he’s an unbelievable player. We did a nice job of sticking to our game plan. To only have nine turnovers – instead of 25 like up at Penn State – was a tribute to our guys trying to play the game plan and take care of the basketball.
“I was proud of how we forced them into contested shots. They missed some shots, too, which I don’t want to take too much credit for, but I was proud of our effort. We kept switching up man-to-man to zone which takes a lot of communication. We did a good job of keeping them in front of us on defense and then force contested jumpers. I’m proud that we kept fighting.”