Jackson, Tenn. - A late push by Valdosta State came up short in the final minutes on Saturday, as the Blazers lost a tight Gulf South Conference matchup 64-54 against Union at Fred DeLay Gymnasium in Jackson, Tenn..
The loss dropped the Blazers to 9-3 on the season and 3-3 in league play, while Union improved to 8-4 overall and 4-2 in the conference.
Colin Cook and Jeremy McKay teamed up on back to back field goals to open up the game and give the Blazers an early lead within the first two minutes, but the Bulldogs quickly answered with a three ball by AJ Roberts to cut the lead to one. Blake Justice followed with a bucket near the rim just ten seconds later to give the Blazers a 6-3 lead, but Roberts struck again at the 17:24 mark with another layup to bring the Bulldogs within one.
With just under 17 minutes to go in the first half, Roberts attempted to give Union their first lead of the game with a long three that came up short. Bulldog forward Miguel Martinez was there for the tip-in, however, to put Union on top 7-6. The advantage was one that the Bulldogs would not relinquish for the rest of the night.
The Bulldogs leading scorer on the year, Corieon Pearson, led Union offensively with 22 points on 9-14 shooting from the field. Pearson also dished out two assists to go along with two of the Bulldogs' six steals on the night.
The Blazers outrebounded the Bulldogs offensively with 15 against Union's 12, but the Blazers trailed 22-33 in the defensive rebound column.
Valdosta State shot well below their 43.3 field goal percentage heading into the contest, as the team held a 31.4 percent clip on 22-70 shooting. The Blazers also had trouble finding a rhythm from beyond the arc and were only able to connect on four trifectas in 25 attempts for 16.0 percent.
Blazer junior Larry Stone delivered three of the Blazers' four three pointers, the last of which cut Union's lead to 56-54 with only 3:04 to go in regulation. The Bulldogs responded with the final eight points of the game though to hold on and pick up the victory.
Valdosta State continues the four game road trip with a game against the West Georgia Wolves on Thursday in Carrollton, Ga. The tip is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST.