ROME, Ga. — The No. 19 Blazers bounced back after its back-to-back losses with a win on the road Friday night over Shorter with a final score of 95-86.
VSU (7-2, 7-2 Gulf South Conference) had help from the Guardian Bank Player of the Game Imoras Agee who shot seven for 12 (.583) from the field with nine rebounds. Burke Putnam found himself second in scoring for the Blazers with 18 points, shooting eight for 15 (.533) from the field.
The Hawks (1-5, 1-5 GSC) were led by 20 points from redshirt junior Ja'Cori Wilson, going eight for 12 (.667) from the field, three of which were from three. The Hawks finished with four players in the double digits for points while shooting 59% from the free throw line.
The Blazers scored the first two by a slam from redshirt junior Cam Hamilton and there was no looking back there for the team. The Blazers kept up the tempo, taking a 7-1 lead early after Agee splashed a long ball before the Hawks would answer with a three of its own. The Hawks were able to cut its deficit to just three but it wasn't enough as Putnam put the Blazers back up by five. With a little more than halfway to play in the half, the Hawks were able to get the score to 21-16, but a big three from Agee fueled the flame for an eventual 15-0 run over the span of five minutes for the Blazers. Valdosta State's run gave it the momentum to keep up the pressure and head into the locker room up by 15 with a score of 53-38
The Blazers went 21 for 37 from the field (.568) while the Hawks shot 12 for 28 (.429), as the Blazers hit four baskets from deep (.308). The Blazers saw the line 10 times and converted on seven free points, while the Hawks saw the charity stripe 12 times and sank 10.
The Hawks came out of the locker room and were able to cut the strong halftime lead to just 10, but layups from three separate Blazers quickly put the lead back to 16. Halfway through the second half, Shorter was able to go on a quick 7-0 run but a three from Hamilton ended the run right there. The Blazers didn't let up as the team increased its lead to as much as 19, but a late push by the Hawks saw that lead dwindle down to just seven with less than three minutes left to play. Big buckets by Jacolbey Owens and Putnam was too much for the Hawks, as the Blazers closed out and won 95-86.
Despite the score, the Hawks finished Friday's matchup with a slightly better field goal percentage than the Blazers, shooting 31 for 59 (.525) while the Blazers shot 37 for 71 (.521). Valdosta State was seven for 25 (.280) from three while Shorter made half of its three-point attempts, going 11 for 22 (.500). The Blazers saw the line 22 times and were able to make 14 of those attempts (.636) while Shorter saw the line 22 times as well, making thirteen (.591). Agee led the team in rebounds, bringing down nine where junior Mohamed Fofana led in the steals category with three.
VSU is back in action against Shorter tomorrow at 2 p.m. to finish off the weekend double-header before facing off against West Georgia Friday, Jan. 29 at home. Fans can access links to live stats, audio/video streaming, ticket information and more at vstateblazers.com on the men's basketball schedule page.