CLINTON, S.C. -- Stan Okoye scored a career-high 39 points and grabbed eight rebounds to help Virginia Military Institute beat Presbyterian 86-77 Saturday night in the Big South Conference opener for both teams.
With Presbyterian trailing 32-27 with 4:18 remaining in the first half, VMI closed out the period on a 6-2 run to take a 38-29 lead into halftime.
Okoye made a free throw at the 18:14 mark in the second half to push VMI's lead to 10, 41-31.
VMI got its largest lead of the game, 18 points, when Okoye converted a layup with 9:20 left to play to make it 65-47.
VMI shot 66.7 percent (14 for 21) in the second half and made 15 free throws in the period to close out Presbyterian (3-12).
Khalid Mutakabbir led the Blue Hose with 19 points.
Colorado State graduate transfer John Gillon has chosen Syracuse, giving the Orange a potential starter at point guard entering the 2016-17 season.
DeSean Murray, who averaged 20.2 points as a sophomore at Presbyterian, will transfer to Auburn to play for coach Bruce Pearl.
Former Kentucky guard Ed Davender, the only Wildcat with at least 1,500 points and 400 assists, has died. He was 49.