VALDOSTA, Ga. (VALDOSTA STATE ATHLETICS) — The No. 20 Blazers came away with a win Tuesday night during the Gulf South Conference Tournament Quarterfinal versus Delta State 88-69 to advance to its fifth-straight Gulf South Conference Tournament Semifinal.
Tickets are on sale now for Friday's matchup in the VSU Athletic Ticket Office or by calling 222-333-SEAT (7328). Tickets are $10 for reserved seats (all ages), $7 for adult general admission and $3 for ages 5-College w/ID) and seniors (age 65+). VSU students are admitted free with their student ID.
VSU (15-4, 15-4 Gulf South Conference) saw Guardian Bank Player of the Game Cam Hamilton miss just one three pointer, shooting six of seven (.857) while going 8 of 14 (.571) from the field. Senior Imoras Agee finished his night with 18 points, going seven of 15 (.467) from the field.
The Statesmen (4-10, 4-10 GSC) were led by 14 points from both Maalik Cartwright and Airen Brooks, where Cartwright led the team with six field goals. The Statesmen finished with three players in the double digits for points while shooting 46% from the free throw line.
Delta State got out to a quick start where it went up 10-5 after a pair of threes and two buckets off the glass, but the Blazers answered and went on a quick 7-0 run to regain the lead. The Statesmen answered, however, as it took the lead three separate times during the next few possessions before Mohamed Fofana drained a jumper to put the Blazers back on top. The Blazers made sure it wasn't going to play from behind again as Jacolbey Owens capped off another 7-0 run with a layup to give VSU a six-point advantage. Delta State was able to extinguish some of the flame with a three, but the Blazers weren't going to stop as it went on several runs throughout the remainder of the fist half. With 3:35 left to play in the half, Maurice Gordon slammed one right over a Delta State defender and drew a foul which made The Complex erupt and give VSU even more momentum. The Blazers went up by as much as 24 as VSU went on a 25-9 run over the final nine minutes of the half to give it a big 49-30 lead going into the locker room.
The Blazers were lights out from the field, shooting 20 for 38 from the field (.526) while the Statesmen shot 12 for 34 (.353), as the Blazers hit seven baskets from deep (.412) compared to Delta State's four (.333). Although the Blazers controlled the game throughout the first 20, it struggled on the glass as it could only grab 15 rebounds compared to the Statesmen 28. The Blazers took advantage of the Statesmen turnovers, scoring 16 points from nine steals and 13 Delta State giveaways. The Blazers played the ball near perfectly as it only turned it over two times.
The Blazers kept on rolling, extending its lead after an Owens layup to go up by 21, shortly before Delta State answered with 10 quick points to cut its deficit to 11. The Blazers didn't feel the pressure though as it came storming right back after a Hamilton three to push the Blazers up 15. The Blazers nearly went up by 20 points again after Hamilton hit another shot from deep right after an Agee three, but the Statesmen were able to answer and cut its deficit down by a little. The Statesmen put up a fight, but the Blazers always had an answer or two as it rode its halftime lead throughout the second half. Gordon slammed another dunk with less than five minutes to play to make The Complex erupt once again, helping lead the Blazers down the stretch. Redshirt freshman Jeremy Golson tacked on a final three which would be the last points scored by either team to give the Blazers the 88-69 win.
The Blazers outshot the Statesmen, where VSU went 33 for 68 (.485) from the field and made 15 threes while the Statesmen shot 28 for 60 (.467) from the field with only eight balls from deep. The Blazers saw 35 of its points come off the bench along with 28 points scored in the paint. The Blazers took advantage of the Statesmen turnovers, scoring 23 points off of the teams 20 turnovers.
VSU is back in action Friday, Mar. 5 inside The Complex to compete in the Gulf South Conference Tournament Semifinal at 8 p.m. The Blazers will host the winner of the No. 2W-seed Union/No. 3E-seed West Georgia matchup. Fans can access links to live stats, audio/video streaming, ticket information and more at vstateblazers.com on the men's basketball schedule page.