ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Demetrius Denzel-Dyson scored 17 points and seventh-seeded Samford never trailed in beating 10th-seed VMI 79-61 in Friday night's first round of the Southern Conference Tournament.

Christen Cunningham scored 15 points and Alex Thompson and Wyatt Walker added 13 apiece for the Bulldogs (18-14), who take on No. 2 Furman in Saturday's quarterfinal.

Samford led 38-24 at halftime after shooting 50 percent from the floor and 6 of 13 from behind the arc to VMI's 21.4 percent and 1 of 16. Alex Peters' layup gave Samford a 20-point lead, 54-34, at 13:34 in the second half and the Bulldogs cruised.

QJ Peterson scored 26 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the Keydets (6-24), who finished shooting 28.4 percent from the floor.

The Bulldogs are in the midst of their best season in 11 years and their first winning season since 2005-06.