MONTGOMERY, Ala. (VALDOSTA STATE ATHLETICS) — Behind 14 points from junior forward Maurice Gordon, the Valdosta State University men's basketball team fell 72-59 on the road against the Auburn Montgomery Warhawks despite a late second-half comeback Thursday night.
Gordon had four rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal, while junior guard Jacolbey Owens, who put up 11 points on the night, also had four rebounds in addition to four assists, and two steals.
The Blazers fell to 11-11 on the year, 7-8 in the Gulf South Conference, while the Warhawks improved to 9-14 on the year and 6-9 in conference play.
The Warhawks started off the scoring campaign with a mid-range jump shot from Deven Tucker. After another layup from Tucker, Valdosta State finally got on the board with 17:10 left in the half via a jumper by redshirt junior guard Cam Hamilton to put the Blazers back, 4-2.
Hamilton ended the night with four points, three thefts, and three rebounds in 18 minutes of action.
AUM built an eight-point lead with just 29 seconds left in the half from a layup by Jeremiah Bozeman. Hamilton looked to put back a trey for VSU, but narrowly missed, which brought VSU to the locker room down by eight, 31-23.
The Blazers saw a 30% field goal percentage, going 9 of 30 from the field and 2 of 7 from outside the arc in the first 20 minutes of action. VSU's defense forced AUM into seven turnovers, resulting in four points off turnovers. The Blazers struggled at the line in the first half, going 3 of 10 for a 30% free-throw percentage.
Out of the locker room, junior forward Mohamed Fofana put up a layup 44 seconds into the half to cut the Warhawk's lead to six, but the Warhawks quickly responded with a layup and a dunk from Jelal Williams after a VSU turnover to push AUM's lead to 35-25.
The Warhawks went on a 12-0 run, sparked by a mid-range jumper from Isaiah Hart, with 13:12 left in the game, stretching the lead to a 19 at 49-30. Owens ended the scoring drought for the blazers with a free throw, but AUM quickly responded with a dunk from James Graham.
Gordon sunk only the second three of the game with 12:03 in the game to spark a 7-0 run and push the Blazers to within 53-38.
After a pair of free throws from Hart, Blazer freshman guard Ricky Brown sparked another late-half 7-0 run with 5:36 left in the game to cut the lead to nine, 59-50. The Warhawks, once again responded with a layup from Bozeman to force AUM's lead back to 11. AUM continued to stay hot in the paint and at the free-throw line, pushing the lead to 72-57 late in the game.
Fofana ended the game for the Blazers with a driving layup, making the Blazers' comeback fall short, 72-59.
The Warhawks were led by Hart, who put up 21 points against the Blazers. Bozeman and James Graham each recorded a double-double on the night, picking up 18 points and 10 rebounds, 12 points and 13 rebounds, respectfully.
VSU had 32 points in the paint, put up 13 second-chance points, scored 12 points off AUM's 19 turnovers, and had 17 bench points. The Blazers had a 34.8% field goal percentage, going 23 of 66 from the floor, 6 of 19 beyond the arc and 7 of 18 at the foul line.
The Blazers continue their road trip on Saturday, taking on Montevallo at 5 p.m. ET before returning home to host Lee and Shorter on Feb. 17 and 19, respectfully, to round out the 2021-2022 regular-season home schedule.
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