VALDOSTA, Ga. — The Valdosta State men's basketball team rallied in the second half for a thrilling 75-67 victory over West Alabama in another classic matchup between the two teams Saturday afternoon on Senior Day.
VSU won its 15th-straight game with the victory and improved to 22-3 overall and 16-2 in Gulf South Conference play, while UWA fell to 20-7 and 13-6 in league play. The Blazers now have swept the regular season games with the Tigers for the fourth-straight season.
The Blazers close the regular season at West Florida and at Auburn Montgomery next week.
VSU clinched a home game in the quarterfinal round of the upcoming Gulf South Conference Championship on Mar. 3. Tickets for the Mar. 3 game against an opponent to be determined are on sale now in the VSU Athletic Ticket Office in The Complex, or by calling 229-333-SEAT.
Prior to the game, VSU honored four Blazers playing in their final regular season home game in Blazer uniform. The 2020 senior class includes; Tyler Edwards, Clay Guillozet, Darrell Jones and Bryce Smith.
Guillozet finished with 18 points on 6 of 11 from the field with one triple and 5 of 6 from the line, while pulling down seven rebounds, while sophomore Imoras Agee added 16 points on 7 of 14 from the field and six rebounds. Smith was 6 of 13 from the field, but had nine huge rebounds in the game, while Jones scored ten big points in the second half and 13 for the game as he was monstrous down the stretch.
The Blazers shot 46.7 percent from the field on 28 of 60, while going 18 of 24 from the line, but was just 1 of 12 from beyond the arc. VSU held a 39-32 lead in rebounding and dominated inside to the tune of 52-36 in points in the paint. The Blazers outscored UWA 47-36 in the second half, shooting 58.6 percent on 17 of 29 from the field and 13 of 17 from the line.
UWA shot 43.1 percent for the game on 25 of 58, while draining five triples in 17 attempts and went 12 of 15 from the line. Ricky Dannaway had a team-high 18 points, while LaJuan Hardy chipped in 16, along with eight rebounds and six steals. Darron Johnson had 11 points.
In a game with a playoff atmosphere from the start, VSU and UWA battled back-and-forth throughout the first half with neither team gaining much of an advantage. VSU led by as many as four in the opening half, only to see UWA respond and take a 31-28 lead into the break. It was the first time VSU had trailed at intermission since the game at Florida Southern on Nov. 30, 2019.
A dunk from Tyrus Grayson gave UWA a 40-35 lead with 16:52 left for its largest lead of the game, but the Blazers, behind 1,626 fans, used an 8-2 run for a 43-42 lead on a bucket from redshirt freshman Jakari Gallon with 12:17 left.
VSU erased a four-point deficit later in the half with a 5-0 run for a 57-56 lead with 5:39 left on a reverse layup from junior Burke Putnam, but Justin Allison had the answer with his second trey of the game, silencing the crowd at the other end.
Jones tied the game for the eighth time in the contest at 59 with 5:50 left, starting a game-defining run as VSU used a 12-0 run since the Allison triple for a 69-59 lead with 1:39 remaining on a put back from Smith. Jones then added two free throws with 29 seconds left for a 75-63 lead. UWA ended the game with the final four points for the 75-67 margin.