VALDOSTA, Ga. — The No. 5 Blazers dropped its first game of the season Friday night against Lee by a final score of 70-82.
VSU (6-1, 6-1 Gulf South Conference) were led by Guardian Bank Player of the Game Burke Putnam who led the team in points with 22, shooting 11 for 15 from the field, while dishing out five assists.
The Flames (3-1, 3-1 GSC) were led by 26 points from junior Quay Kennedy, going 9 for 13 (.692) from the field for 26 points along with 6 rebounds. The Flames finished with three players in the double digits for points while shooting 75% from the free throw line.
The Blazers came out early with a 5-2 lead, but the Flames were able to get back even and take the lead at 6-5 but it wasn't long before Valdosta State regained the lead off a Cam Hamilton jumper. The next few possessions went back and forth with a few lead changes before Lee was able to take a 12-11 lead with 16:07 left to play, taking away the Blazer lead. A 13-0 run for the Flames gave it cushion for the remainder of the first half, not falling behind the remainder of the time. The Blazers cut it close, breaking the lead down to just eight with help from a Jacolbey Owens jumper, but the Flames kept on the pressure as the Blazers went into the locker room down 44-30.
The Blazers went 12 for 33 (.364) from the field while the Flames shot 19 for 31 (.613), as the Blazers were able to hit four baskets from deep. The Flames led in the rebound column, coming down with 23 where the Blazers only recorded 11. The Blazers bench accounted for 10 of its points along with 14 total points coming from the paint.
Lee came out of halftime shooting, taking a 22-point lead over the Blazers with more than 18 minutes left to play. The Blazers weren't backing down, however, as the team answered with a 10-0 run to cut that margin to just 12 points, coming off buckets from Imoras Agee, Travis Bianco, Owens, and Putnam. Both teams were at a stalemate, but the Blazers would eventually cut the deficit to just seven after Owens slammed it down for two. The Blazers hung around, but its efforts came up short as the Flames were able to take control in the final five minutes and give the Blazers its first loss of the season.
The Blazers finished the game shooting 29 for 59 (.492) from the field while the Flames went 31 for 56 (.554). The Blazers struggled at the line, going 5 for 15 (.333) with the Flames seeing 15 of its points from the charity stripe. The Blazers saw 42 of its points come in the paint as well as 17 off the bench. The Blazers took advantage of the Flames 15 turnovers as it was able to score 20 of its points off forced turnovers. Lee controlled the board throughout the game, finishing with 40 rebounds, 16 more than the Blazers.
VSU is back in action against Lee Saturday, Jan. 16 inside The Complex. Fans can access links to live stats, audio/video streaming, ticket information and more at vstateblazers.com on the men's basketball schedule page.