VALDOSTA, Ga. (VSU ATHLETICS) — A career-high 26 points from senior Mohamed Fofana and five players scoring in double figures helped propel the Valdosta State men's basketball team to a 101-62 victory over visiting Shorter University in Gulf South Conference play Saturday afternoon. With the victory, VSU won its fourth-straight game and improved to 4-2 on the year and 2-0 in GSC play, while Shorter fell to 2-3 and 1-1 in conference play.
Fofana finished a blistering 10 of 12 from the field with one triple and 5 of 6 from the line, along with five assists and three steals leading five players in double figures. Graduate student Ryan Black had 16 points off the bench on 5 of 8 from the field and 4 of 7 from deep, while going 2 for 2 from the line. He tied the team-high with seven rebounds as sophomore Caden Boser also had seven rebounds. Senior Jacolbey Owens finished with 14 points on 4 of 7 from the field, 3 of 3 from deep and 3 of4 from the line, while recording five assists and two rebounds, while senior Cam Hamilton had 11 points off the bench with three treys and senior Maurice Gordon added ten points and six rebounds.
As a team, VSU shot 56.9 percent from the field on 37 of 65, while it was a season-high 15 of 29 from downtown and 12 of 16 from the line. VSU pulled down 39 rebounds, including 11 on the offensive end, while committing just nine turnovers. The 101 points by the Blazers marked the first time over the century mark for VSU since a 118-78 victory over Coastal Georgia on Nov. 29, 2021. It was the first time scoring over 100 points against a GSC team since a 101-84 victory in Valdosta against Auburn Montgomery on Feb. 13, 2021.
Shorter, who beat West Florida in Pensacola, Fla., Thursday 62-59, was led by 16 points from Ricky Knight, Jr., on 6 of 15 from the field, 2 of 9 from deep and 2 of 2 from the line. Jaden Dunham added ten points for the Hawks. As a team, the Hawks shot 42.1 percent on 24 of 57, while they were 8 of 27 from deep and 6 of 10 from the line. VSU held a 39-25 lead in rebounding and forced 18 miscues by the Hawks, leading to a 26-5 advantage in points off turnovers.
A "hoop and harm" and a bucket inside from Fofana gave VSU a 10-9 lead with 14:14 left in the first and five early points for Fofana. Two free throws from Owens gave him seven points early and a 12-9 VSU lead. Following a miss by Shorter, a nifty move to the bucket from Fofana and a steal and score by Fofana forced Shorter into a timeout with 12:40 in the half and a 16-9 VSU lead for an 11-0 run since the 15:12 mark for the Blazers. Black buried a triple in the corner, extending the run to 14-0, followed by a turnover on the Hawks with 11:45 left in the half and a 19-9 lead.
Fofana scored inside for a 21-9 lead on his 11th point early and a 16-0 run for a 21-9 lead. A layup from Shorter's Micah Hodges ended the run for VSU with 9:36 to play in the half and a 21-11 VSU lead. It marked the first field goal for the Hawks since in over five minutes.
Black drained his second trey of the half and a 24-11 lead with under nine minutes to play. After a triple from Shorter, Fofana earned the "and one", once again, for his 14th point of the game and a 27-16 lead with seven minutes left in the half. Senior Maurice Gordon drained one from the corner pocket for a 32-19 lead for his first field goal of the game and Fofana cleaned up the mess on the glass for a put back and a 34-19 score with 4:57 left in the half. Gordon then hit his second trey for a 37-19 score and a steal by Gordon followed as Fofana scored for a 39-19 lead and a 12-0 run.
Owens added to the run with a triple of his own for a 42-19 lead and 2:46 left in the half for a 15-0 run since the 6:59 mark. Shorter earned the "and one" out of the final media timeout of the half ending the spurt by the Blazers for 42-22 score. Owens then drained his third from long distance in transition and Gordon scored on an outlet pass for a 47-22 lead with one minute left in the half. VSU held a 51-24 lead at intermission.
VSU shot a blistering 63.3 percent from the field on 19 of 30 from the floor, while it was 7 of 12 from deep (.583) and 6 of 6 from the line. After trailing 9-5 early, VSU outscored the Hawks 46-15 the rest of the half. Fofana had 18 points in the half as he was 8 of 9 from the field and 2 of 2 from beyond the arc, while Owens had 16 points on 4 of 6 from the floor, 3 of 3 from deep and 2 of 2 from the line. VSU forced Shorter into 11 turnovers and held a 20-3 lead in points off turnovers, while VSU had just three turnovers leading to three points for the Hawks.
Shorter shot 8 of 25 from the field for 32 percent, while it was 5 of 15 from beyond the arc and 3 of 3 from the line. Raphael Houssou had a team-high nine points on three from long distance for the Hawks.
Five quick points by Shorter to begin the second half pulled the Hawks within 52-29 with 17:53 left in regulation and a timeout by the Blazers. A pair of dunks from Gordon and Fofana sparked the crowd and gave VSU a 56-31 lead with 16:47 left in the second half. Fofana drained a banked 3-pointer with one on the shot clock for a 60-31 lead and 15:23 remaining, followed by a triple from sophomore Caden Boser and a 63-31 score moments later. Boser put VSU up 65-34 with a turnaround jumper with 14:17 left in the game and Black came off a screen for a trey and a 68-34 score moments later.
The "Cam's" used a fast break layup from junior Cam Selders and a triple from senior Cam Hamilton swelled the lead to 79-45 with 7:39 left and a timeout by the Hawks. Hamilton buried another one from deep for the 12thtriple of the game for the Blazers and an 82-45 lead with 6:44 to play. Kelan Walker and Black each had 3's for a 90-49 lead and 4:30 to play. Hamilton hit is third triple of the game and 15th by the Blazers in 26 attempts with 3:33 left and a 93-52 lead for the largest lead of the game. Head coach Mike Helfer emptied his bench and 13 different players saw action in the game. Valdosta native freshman JJ Williams scored a bucket as did fellow Valdosta native sophomore Jace Lavan and sophomore Chris Connor also scored in the game.
The Blazers close the home stand on Tuesday, Nov. 22 at 8 p.m. at The Complex versus Clinton College. Fans can access links to live stats, audio/video streaming, ticket information and more at vstateblazers.com on the men's basketball schedule page.