MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The No. 11 Blazers opened up the new year with an 89-76 win over Auburn Montgomery Saturday evening in Montgomery, Ala.
VSU (2-0, 2-0 Gulf South Conference) saw a near double-double from the Guardian Bank Player of the Game Burke Putnam who brought down nine rebounds along with a total of 18 points, one point off from the team leaders Imoras Agee and Cam Hamilton. Putnam led the team in free throws made and assists.
The Warhawks (0-1, 0-1 GSC) were led by 26 points from freshman Sam Youngblood, going 9 for 13 (.692) from the field. The Warhawks finished with a total of three players in the double digits for points and shot 59% from the free throw line.
The Blazers scored eight quick points right from the tip, with Hamilton tallying two of his four three pointers during that span before the Warhawks answered with a three of their own from Youngblood. The Blazers kept its lead through the halfway mark of the first half with some help from an Agee and Malik Hunt three ball. Valdosta lost the lead off an Auburn Montgomery layup but regained it no less than :25 seconds later. There was no looking back from there for the Blazers who controlled its lead until halftime, heading into the locker room up by eight.
The Blazers went 14 for 29 from the field (.483) while the Warhawks shot 13 for 30 (.433), as the Blazers hit five baskets from deep (.385). There was a close battle on the boards throughout the first 20 minutes of play, but the Blazers edged the Warhawks by one with a first half total of 19. All but one point came from the bench for Auburn Montgomery while Valdosta saw 25 points come from its bench.
The Warhawks kept the pressure on the Blazers early on out of the locker room but it wasn't enough as Valdosta maintained the halftime lead throughout the whole second half. The Blazers took a commanding 13-point lead with less than ten minutes to play in the second half off a dunk from Jacolbey Owens. There was no looking back from there as the Blazers led 89-76 once the clock hit zero.
As a whole, the Blazers outshot the Warhawks, as Valdosta shot 50% from the field opposed to Auburn Montgomery's 43%. The team also outshot Auburn Montgomery from deep, shooting 40% which was eight percent better than the Warhawks. Dominating the glass, the Blazers were able to bring down 41 rebounds with the help from Putnam's nine and Mohamed Fofana's six.
VSU is back in action against Auburn Montgomery tomorrow at 3 p.m. ET to finish off the road double-header before coming home to face off against Shorter on Friday and Saturday. Fans can access links to live stats, audio/video streaming, ticket information and more at vstateblazers.com on the men's basketball schedule page.