Men's Basketball Visits VMI For Saturday SoCon Opener

John Davis III
John Davis III

Furman vs. VMI Game Notes

Greenville, S.C. -- Southern Conference play opens for the Furman men's basketball team on Saturday afternoon when it visits Lexington, Va., to take on the VMI Keydets. Tip-off at Cameron Hall is slated for 1 p.m. and the game will be streamed live on ESPN3.

The Paladins, 9-4 on the season and ranked No. 14 in the latest CollegeInsider Mid-Major Top 25 poll, have won their last three SoCon openers and are going for their fifth straight victory versus VMI. Furman holds a 60-34 lead in the all-time series against the Keydets and claimed an 80-52 triumph in the last meeting on February 13, 2017, at Cameron Hall as John Davis III netted 13 points to pace five Paladins in double figures.

The SoCon media picked Furman to repeat as regular season champions, while the league's coaches tabbed the Paladins to finish third in voting during the preseason. VMI, 5-6 on the season, was picked 10th in both the coaches and media polls.

Senior Devin Sibley, the reigning SoCon Player of the Year and preseason choice to repeat  the honor this season, leads Furman averaging 16.2 points per game. He poured in a game-high 22 points on 10-of-16 shooting in his return to his hometown of Knoxville, Tenn., in Furman's 66-61 loss to the nationally-ranked Tennessee Vols last time out on December 20. Sibley, who scored 19 points in the second half, tied the game at 61-61 with 2:02 remaining, but the Vols ended the contest on a 5-0 run to hold off the Paladins' upset bid.

Davis has contributed 12.4 points per game and fellow senior Daniel Fowler has added 11.5 points per contest. Junior forward Matt Rafferty has scored 11.5 points per game, ranks second in the SoCon with 8.0 rebounds per outing and leads the league with a 64.5% field goal percentage.

Despite losing several key contributors from last season, VMI picked up back-to-back victories prior to a 10-point loss at VCU in the Keydets' non-conference finale. Freshman Bubba Parham has led VMI averaging 12.1 points per game, while sophomore Tyler Creammer has added 9.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game over 11 contests.

Fans can listen to Saturday's game on FoxSports 1440AM, thru the TuneIn Radio app and via Stretch Audio at Dan Scott will call the action with Tom Van Hoy providing color commentary.

Jordan Caskey, Furman Sports Information