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Valdosta State basketball splits road bill with West Alabama

Posted at 11:30 PM, Jan 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-02 23:30:53-05

LIVINGSTON, ALA. (vstateblazers.com) — WOMEN

For the second time in 2022, the No. 22 Valdosta State women's basketball team used a strong second half to pull away from West Alabama for a 64-51 victory Sunday afternoon as it ran its winning streak to four games and improved to 11-2 overall and 4-1 in Gulf South Conference play. VSU had three starters in double figures led by 16 points and eight rebounds from graduate student Kwajelin Farrar.

Just as in Friday's contest at Alabama Huntsville, VSU led by two at the break on Sunday at 30-28, before outscoring the Tigers 23-14 in the third quarter and 11-9 in the fourth for a 34-23 advantage in the second half. VSU led Friday's game 35-33 before exploding with a 27-9 score in the third quarter en route to an 82-61 victory. On Sunday, Farrar finished 7 of 13 from the field with two free throws, eight rebounds, one assist and one block in 30 minutes. Graduate student Nicole Heyn was 5 of 11 from the field and 3 of 5 from deep for 14 points and graduate student Delaney Bernard added 11 points on 4 of 8 shooting and 3 of 7 from range.

The Tigers (10-4, 4-2 GSC) had a game-high double-double from Bria Dent with 18 points and 14 rebounds on 8 of 11 shooting and 2 of 3 from the line leading two players in double figures as Zoe Watts chipped in 13 points. VSU led from the get go and never trailed in the contest and there were no ties.

VSU shot an even 50 percent from the field on 25 of 50 from the floor, while it was 8 of 18 from range and 6 of 9 from the line. The Lady Blazer "D" held UWA to 18 of 44 shooting and just 2 of 13 from deep, while the Tigers stayed relatively close going 13 of 17 from the line, including 7 of 11 from the stripe in the second half. VSU didn't attempt a free throw in the first half as all 15 attempts came in the final two periods.

The Lady Blazers put the pressure on the Tigers early in the second half as Farrar scored on the first possession and she added a hoop-and-harm in for a 35-28 lead with 9:16 left in the frame to set the tone early. Sophomore Lili Long buried a trey for a 38-29 lead followed by a trey from Heyn for a 41-30 lead with 8:03 left as VSU raced out to an 11-2 run to start the half. Dent hit UWA's first field goal of the half in the paint at the 5:50 mark pulling the Tigers within 44-34, but Bernard pushed the lead to 16 at 52-36 with 2:03 left with a triple for a 22-8 start to the quarter. The Tigers clawed to within 53-42 to conclude the frame.

The momentum continued for VSU into the fourth as it scored the first six points of the quarter for a 59-42 lead capped with a layup from freshman Taylor Searcey with 7:10 to play, marking the largest lead of the game as UWA never got under double-digits the rest of the way.

The Lady Blazers continue the pivotal road trip next Saturday at 3 p.m. ET at West Florida, before returning home on Jan. 13 and Jan. 15 versus Delta State and Mississippi College, respectively, for Hall of Fame Weekend.

Click on the link to the right for information on the 25th Annual Hall of Fame and to purchase tickets. The Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is scheduled for Jan. 15, 2022, at 10 a.m. at the VSU Student Union Ballroom.

MEN

Junior guard Jacolbey Owens finished his 17th-straight game in double figures, and the Valdosta State University men's basketball team shot 49% from the field in its 84-74 loss to the West Alabama Tigers Sunday evening. The match marked the Blazers' sixth loss of the season as the team fell to 7-6 overall and 3-3 in Gulf South Conference play while the Tigers improved to 12-2 on the year and 5-1 in the GSC.

Owens, a native of Warner Robbins, Ga., finished the game with 17 points, two rebounds, three assists and went five of 12 from the field and seven of twelve from the free-throw line. Owens' 17 points mark his 17th-straight game, scoring in double figures as the last time he scored less than ten points was February 27, 2021, at West Florida.

The Blazers started their scoring effort courtesy of a layup from junior forward Michael Cole, assisted by Owens to make the scoreline 3-2 in favor of the Tigers. A layup and a free throw from Owens pushed the Blazers ahead of UWA, 5-3, but the Tigers continued to find points in the paint and capitalized off of free throws.

The Blazers picked up 12 fouls in the first half and a season-high 27 fouls for the game, resulting in the Tigers picking up 11 points from free-throws and racking up a 73.3 free-throw percentage in the first half. The Tigers scored 16 points in the second half from the line to match a 94% free-throw percentage.

A steal from sophomore guard Cam Selders resulted in an open layup by DJ Mitchell to push the Blazers ahead of the Tigers, 18-17, with 10:17 left in the first half, but UWA's offense continued to return the favor. A steal and a three-pointer from redshirt freshman guard Jeremy Golson sent VSU to the locker room trailing the Tigers 43-37.

In the second half, the Blazers saw a 10-point deficit from a tip-in dunk by UWA's Kortrijk Miles but knocked the lead down to five from a jumper by Owens and a pair of free-throws from Hamilton, 73-68, with 3:47 left in the game.

Miles led the Tigers' offense, putting up 30 points along with 19 rebounds and an assist. Davis Robert led UWA in assists with five and recorded 17 points in the game. Four Tigers finished the game in double figures, including Miles, Robert, Justin Allison, and Allen Shardarrion. Only three Blazers reached double figures, including Owens, junior forward Maurice Gordon, and Golson.

Golson ended the game with a career-high 12 points and five rebounds and also recorded a steal. Gordon finished the game with 14 points, one steal and five rebounds.

The Blazers finished the game with a layup downtown from Gordon courtesy of Owens to bring the final scoreline to 84-74 in favor of the Tigers.

The Blazers put up 38 points in the paint for the game and had 13 points off turnovers, two fast-break points, and four second-chance points. The Blazers' bench recorded 23 points, and the team recorded a 56.3 free throw percentage going nine of 16 from the line. The Blazers had a cold night beyond the arc, sinking only two treys in 11 attempts (18.2%).

The Blazers are back in action on January 8 to take on No. 22 West Florida on the road before returning home to take on Delta State on January 13 at 8 p.m. inside the Complex.