VALDOSTA, Ga. (WTXL) — The No. 20 Blazers took care of business Friday night with a win over West Florida by a final score of 84-76.
VSU (13-4, 13-4 Gulf South Conference) witnessed Guardian Bank Player of the Game Imoras Agee go nine for 19 (.474) from the field with four three balls for 24 points. Redshirt junior Cam Hamilton finished with 16 points on the night, shooting six for 11 (.545) from the field.
The Argonauts (7-11, 7-11 GSC) were led by 18 points from senior Tarik McKelphin, going six for 11 (.545) from the field along with six rebounds. The Argonauts finished with three players in the double digits for points while shooting 48% from the free-throw line.
The Blazers were the first to get on the board off a free throw, but the Argonauts answered with a three but then the Blazers answered right back with a jumper to tie it up. West Florida retook the lead shortly after, something it would hang on to for the rest of the first half. UWF went on a run, going up by its largest lead of the half at the 10-minute mark of the first half, taking a 23-12 lead.
After a Blazer timeout, Jacolbey Owens made a jumper to break the momentum and put the deficit to single digits, followed by a Matt Treacy deep ball to make it a six-point game. The Blazers found its rhythm as Agee drilled a deep ball to make it a three-point game, but the Argonauts had the answer with five quick points of its own. West Florida finished the first half with a pair of free throws to put the Blazers down 41-36 heading into the locker room.
The Blazers went 15 for 37 from the field (.405) while the Argonauts shot 15 for 29 (.517), as the Blazers hit just four baskets from deep (.308) while West Florida shot eight for 12 (.667) from downtown. The Blazers controlled the boards during the first half, coming down with 22 where the Argonauts only recorded 18. The Blazers took advantage of the Argonauts turnovers, scoring 16 points off the team's eight giveaways.
Both teams were scoreless for over a minute before West Florida got the second-half scoring started. Both teams battled, going back and forth with West Florida holding on to its lead as Owens slammed it home to put the Blazers up for the first time since the score was 1-0. West Florida regained its lead, but it wasn't fast before the Blazers took control from a jumper by Owens to put the team up 64-63.
Maurice Gordon widened the lead with a layup, but the Argonauts battled back and retook the lead, going up 73-69. Agee hit one deep from downtown to cut its deficit to one, but West Florida made the gap grow to three with a layup. Agee came back down the court and hit another three to tie the game up and Hamilton made a jumper to put the Blazers ahead. West Florida made a free throw to put it at a two-point game, but the Blazers were able to pull ahead in the final minute and secure the 84-76 win.
The Blazers were outshot by the Argonauts, where VSU went 31 for 67 (.463) from the field and made seven threes. The Argonauts shot 28 for 59 (.475) from the field with only eight balls from deep as it didn't make a three in the second half. The Blazers saw 30 of its points come off the bench along with 46 points scored in the paint. The Blazers took advantage of the Argonauts turnovers, scoring 24 points off of the team's 17 turnovers.
VSU is back in action tomorrow to wrap up its regular season versus West Florida with tipoff set for 4:00 p.m. E.T.