ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) Jake Stephens went 6-for-7 shooting from 3-point range and scored a career-high 24 points as ninth-seeded VMI beat eighth-seeded Samford 96-78 in the first game of the Southern Conference tourney on Friday.

Greg Parham scored 16 points for the Keydets (9-23), Travis Evee added 15, Kamdyn Curfman 14 points and Myles Lewis 13.

The Keydets were 11 of 20 behind the arc in the first half for a 52-30 lead and were 18 of 38 for the game.

VMI faces top-seeded East Tennessee State in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

Brandon Austin scored 20 points for the Bulldogs (10-23) and Josh Sharkey added 19 points and 10 assists. Robert Allen had 17 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks.

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