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Fofana’s 23 Points Leads Blazers to Key Gulf South Conference Victory Thursday Evening

Posted at 12:00 AM, Jan 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-06 10:00:35-05

VALDOSTA, Ga. (VALDOSTA STATE ATHLETICS) — Behind five Blazers in double figures, including a game-high 23 points from senior Mohamed Fofana, the Valdosta State men's basketball team posted a key 99-77 victory over Alabama Huntsville Thursday evening at The Complex.

Fofana tallied his first double-double of the season with 10 rebounds as he was 8 of 13 from the field 1 of 2 from beyond the arc and a season-best 6 of 6 from the line, along with a game-high five assists to earn Guardian Bank Blazer Player of the Game honors. Senior Jacolbey Owens chipped in 19 points on 5 of 8 from the field, a team-best 4 of 6 from beyond the arc and 5 of 8 from the line, while senior Maurice Gordon added 15 points and sophomore Caden Boser chipped in 12 points. The Blazers, who improved to 11-6 overall and 7-4 in GSC play, shot 55.2 percent for the game on 32 of 58, while they were 12 of 27 from beyond the arc and 23 of 29 from the line. VSU held a 38-35 lead in rebounding and forced 16 turnovers by the Chargers, leading to a 28-10 lead in points off turnovers as VSU committed just 11 miscues.

UAH, who entered the game 13-3 overall and tied for the league-lead with an 8-2 record, was led by 15 points from Chaney Johnson as he was 6 of 8 from the line, while draining one triple and going 4 of 12 from the field. VSU held the high-powered UAH offense in check most of the night as the Chargers shot just 36.8 percent for the game on 25 of 68 from the floor. UAH was deadly from beyond the arc, going 15 of 41, while it was 12 of 14 from the line. Max Shulman and Tanner Shulman each added 12 points.

VSU came out of the gates on fire early, building a 12-3 lead capped on an emphatic dunk from Gordon with 17:08 to play in the half. The Chargers quickly cut the deficit back to one with a triple from Jack Kostel and one from deep from Luke Burnett. Kostel buried his second trey and Johnson scored in the paint for a 16-14 UAH lead with 14:34 left in the half.

Later in the half with VSU leading 25-23, junior Mike Isler had a layup, tip-in and a dunk for six-straight points as the Blazers stretched the lead to 33-23 and an 8-0 run with 7:53 to go in the half. Once again, the Chargers had the answer with a triple and trimmed the deficit back to two, but a 7-0 run by the Blazers pushed the lead to nine at 40-31 with 3:02 to go. A pair of triples from Max Shulman narrowed the margin to one at 43-42 at the break.

The Blazers shot 54.5 percent from the field in the opening half on 18 of 33 from the field, while they were 4 of 11 from beyond the arc and 3 of 5 from the line. UAH shot 14 of 33 from the field for the half, while it was a staggering 11 of 21 from distance and 3 of 3 from the line.

VSU opened the second half on a 10-2 run capped on a triple from Owens. He then hit another from beyond the arc for a 61-45 lead with 15:07 to go as the Blazers stretched the opening run to 18-3. The Chargers continued to chip away and pulled within eight on a layup from Johnson with 10:08 to go at 67-59, but graduate student Ryan Black buried his only triple of the game for a 70-59 lead with 9:16 to go.

Blazer junior Jay Rucker hit two free throws beginning another run towards the end of the game as VSU used a 10-2 spurt for an 87-69 lead and 3:21 to go. VSU stretched the lead to as many as 25 late in the contest as the Blazers closed the final 10 minutes on a 32-18 run for the 99-77 victory.

VSU continues at home on Saturday at 4 p.m. versus West Alabama in another key GSC matchup at The Complex. The Tigers enter 13-2 and 9-2 in league play as they are tied for the league-lead and have won seven-straight games after a 60-52 victory at West Florida Thursday evening.