VALDOSTA, Ga. (Valdosta State Athletics) — The No. 22 Blazers swept the regular season series against Auburn Montgomery with a win Saturday by a final score of 101-84, the first time this season the Blazers hit the century mark.
VSU (12-4, 12-4 Gulf South Conference) witness Guardian Bank Player of the Game Ricky Brown have a career day, leading the team with 21 points, going eight for nine (.889), five three pointers made, and two steals during his 24 minutes on the court. Brown was perfect from three-point land on the day. Senior Burke Putnam and junior Jacolbey Owens were tied for second on the team in points, both with 19 a piece. Just like Friday's matchup against AUM, VSU finished with five players in double digits with Putnam leading the team with seven assists.
The Warhawks (2-8, 2-8 GSC) were led by 21 points from redshirt senior guard Stanley David who shot seven for 15 (.467) from the field with six rebounds. The Warhawks finished with four players in the double digits for points with its leading rebounder, Maharrith Jackson, coming down with nine.
AUM got off to a quick start, sinking a three ball during its first possession which would give the Warhawks its largest lead of the half. Cam Hamilton was able to cut the early deficit to just one followed by an Owens three to give the Blazers the lead. From there, the Blazers took off on a 14-0 run over the next four minutes to give itself a cushion heading forward. However, no lead is safe as AUM was able to battle back and tie the game up at 17 with twelve minutes left to play in the half. Brown made sure the Blazers wouldn't play from behind after he drilled a deep ball to end the Warhawks momentum. Over the next few minutes, the Warhawks were able to keep it close, putting pressure on the Blazers, but VSU would never sacrifice its lead although cutting it close at 32-21 with seven minutes left to play. From there, Maurice Gordon got things started, starting an 18-5 Blazers run which included three deep balls from three separate Blazers to give itself a big 50-36 lead heading into the locker room
The Blazers were lights out in the first half, going 19 for 33 from the field (.576) while shooting nine for 17 (.529) from beyond the arch. Auburn Montgomery was able to shoot 13 for 32 (.406) from the field while making just five threes (five for 13). The Blazers held the edge on the boards, coming off the glass with 20 rebounds, three more than the Warhawks. 17 of the Blazers first 50 came off its bench as well as 20 points coming inside the paint.
The Blazers came out of the locker room shooting, adding five quick points with help from a trey ball from Putnam. From there, the Blazers dominated and took complete control of the game, leading by double digits for the remainder of the game. Brown was able to tack on two of his five three pointers during the final 20, a half where the Blazers only totaled four threes. The Blazers largest lead came after Mohamed Fofana laid one in to put the Blazers up by 23, where the Warhawks quickly turned around and made a three to make it just 20. The Warhawks made it a close game with five minutes left to play, bringing its deficit to just 12 on two separate occasions, but foul trouble sent multiple Blazers to the line to ice the game and complete the season sweep by a final score of 101-84.
The Blazers took control of the game throughout, outshooting the Warhawks who went 31 for 69 (.449) from the field with seven threes, whereas the Blazers shot 36 for 66 (.545) from the field while going 13 for 29 (.448) from deep. The Blazers saw the charity stripe 21 times and made 16 baskets (.762), where the Warhawks led the battle on the boards, finishing with 39 rebounds opposed to VSU's 34. VSU saw 37 of its points come off the bench along with 46 coming inside the paint.
VSU gets a week off next weekend and returns to play Friday, Feb. 26, and Saturday, Feb. 27, to wrap up the regular season at West Florida. Fans can access links to live stats, audio/video streaming, ticket information and more at vstateblazers.com on the men's basketball schedule page.