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No. 9 Blazers win fourth-straight Gulf South Conference regular season title

Posted at 10:12 PM, Feb 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-29 22:12:27-05

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The No. 9 Valdosta State men's basketball team roared back from an early deficit for a blistering second half en route to a 98-86 victory at Auburn Montgomery on Saturday to win its fourth-straight Gulf South Conference regular season title. VSU now will host No. 8-seed Montevallo Tuesday at 7 p.m. at The Complex in the Quarterfinal Round of the GSC Championship.

The Blazers improved to 24-3 overall and finished the regular season 18-2 in Gulf South Conference play as it ended the regular season with 17-straight victories. VSU shared the league regular season title last season and won it outright in 2017-18 and 2016-17. The 17-straight wins is one shy of tying the school-record of 18-straight set during the 2017-18 season. In addition, the four-straight Gulf South Conference regular season titles is the most in league history when the conference wasn't split into divisions.

Fans can purchase tickets for the GSC Quarterfinal game on Tuesday in the VSU Athletic Ticket Office or by calling 229-333-SEAT. The winner of Tuesday's game advances to the GSC semifinal and finals site Mar. 7-8 at the Pete Hanna Center in Birmingham, Ala. Please click on the link to the right of this story for the GSC Men's Basketball Championship Central.

Blazer senior Clay Guillozet led five Blazer starters in double figures with 24 points and 10 rebounds as he was a blistering 8 of 10 from the field, 2 of 3 from range and 6 of 6 from the line. Guillozet added five assists in the game, while sophomore Imoras Agee tallied 19 points on 7 of 12 from the field, 3 of 4 from beyond the arc and 2 of 2 from the line, along with seven rebounds. Junior Burke Putnam added 14 points on 7 of 14 from the field and pulled down six rebounds, while senior Bryce Smith scored 11 points, nine rebounds and had three blocks.

VSU shot 51.3 percent from the field on 39 of 76, while going 8 of 21 from range and 12 of 14 from the line. The Blazers had 41 rebounds and dominated inside to the tune of 60-32 in points in the paint.

AUM (15-14, 10-10 GSC) had six players in double figures led by 15 points from Darrion Taylor as he was 6 of 12 from the field with three triples and seven assists. The Warhawks shot 27 of 62 from the field for 43.5 percent, while going 9 of 26 from beyond the arc and 23 of 26 from the line, including 14 of 17 from the stripe in the second half. The Warhawks are the No. 7-seed in the GSC Championship and will play at No. 2-seed Lee.

The Warhawks had the upset in mind on Senior Day early as they raced out to a 12-5 lead early and stretched the advantage to as many as nine, but the Blazers pulled within 25-21 with 10:32 left in the half on a triple from sophomore Cam Hamilton. AUM pushed the lead back out to nine at 44-35 with 2:46 left, but a triple from Agee along with two free throws and a triple from Guillozet pulled VSU within 46-43 with 1:39 left. Senior Tyler Edwards pulled the Blazers within 46-45 for the halftime score.

Just as the Blazers have done all season, a big second half spurt was instore once again VSU opened the second stanza with a 25-12 run for a 70-58 lead with 13 minutes left. Agee scored on a dunk for a 79-61 lead with 10:30 remaining and Guillozet pushed the lead to 21 with a trey with 9:23 remaining and an 84-63 score for the largest lead of the game.

Senior Darrell Jones scored for a 98-79 lead with 4:13 left, which was the last score by the Blazers in the game as AUM ended the game on a 7-0 run for the final margin of 98-86.